High Resolution Systems: University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator

Digital Projection International (DPI) projectors deliver the immersive content in the wraparound simulator.
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High Resolution Systems: University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator

Apr 1, 2014 9:27 PM

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If you’ve traveled a roadway in the United States, you’ve likely benefitted from the work accomplished at the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) facility. Known worldwide for creating custom simulated driving environments for public and private organizations, the NADS facility offers a premier destination for driving data collection. In order to extend ITS reputation as a future-focused solutions provider, the facility is in the midst of a major video upgrade in its NADS-1 immersive driving simulator. The full system upgrade will be completed, to the relief of the NADS team, by the end of January 2014, as the facility has, per Omar Ahmad, director of operations at NADS, “a huge backlog of studies waiting for the facility to reopen.”

Located within the NADS facility, the NADS-1 is a 360-degree driving simulator with one of the largest motion envelopes of any simulator in the world. Already well recognized for its immersive experience, the team is upgrading the NADS-1 from an eight-projector to an all-encompassing 16-projector imaging system. Sixteen M-Vision LED projectors from Digital Projection International (DPI) were chosen to deliver the immersive content in the wraparound simulator. The 40-degree vertical field of view plus 360-degree horizontal plane ensures that when sitting in the seat of the NADS-1, the viewer experiences 100 percent projected imagery with no break in the content.

With federal funding from the Department of Transportation, as well as regional funding from both the state of Iowa and the University of Iowa, NADS was always intended to be a shared-use facility for both government and industry use. “Whether public or private, there are no restrictions on the type of client we take in,” Ahmad says. “This alone allows for a remarkably diverse stream of testing and resulting data to pass through the facility.” The transportation industry in particular is a regular client, as the facility produces controlled risk studies that analyze driving performance based on controlled levels of impairment in a very realistic environment. From that data, the NADS team builds algorithms that can predict driving performance based on sleep deprivation, intoxication, distraction, and other impairments.

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The combination of a world-renowned staff of experts and the advanced simulation capabilities allows for the creation of very specific, customized inhouse simulation experiences.

“We have a diverse collection of experts from disciplines across various fields that can work together to solve complex problems,” Ahmad explains. “Our depth in personnel brings us clients that can’t achieve their required type of research at another facility.” The staff is fully supported by NADS projects, ensuring that the facility remains profitable by creating custom, differentiated data solutions not available elsewhere.

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