Driving in Virtual Reality : Investigations in Effects of Latency and Level of Virtuality

Abstract: When developing new active safety systems or improving existing systems, conducting performance evaluations is necessary. By performing these evaluations during early development stages, potential problems can be identified and mitigated before the system moves into the production phase.Testing active safety systems can be difficult since the characteristic scenarios may have complex interactions. Using real vehicles for performing these types of scenarios is difficult, expensive, and potentially dangerous. Alternative methods, such as using inflatable targets, scale models, computer simulations or driving simulators, also suffer from drawbacks. Consequently, using virtual reality as an alternative to the traditional methods has been proposed. In this case, a real vehicle is driven while wearing a head-mounted display that presents the scenario to the driver.This research aims to investigate the potential of such technology. Specifically, this work investigates how the chosen technology affects the driver. This investigation has been conducted through a literature review. A test platform was constructed, and two user studies using normal drivers were performed. The first study focused on the effects of visual time delays on driver behavior. This study revealed that lateral behavior changes with added time delays, whereas longitudinal behavior appears unaffected. The second study investigated how driver behavior is affected by different modes of virtuality. This study demonstrated that drivers perceived mixed reality as more difficult than virtual reality.The main contribution of this work is the detailed understanding of how time delays and different modes of virtuality affect drivers. This is important knowledge for selecting which scenarios are suitable for evaluation using virtual reality.

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