ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE S.E.A.T?
S.E.A.T simulation environment has been under development since August 2014. Simulation development has been one of the key concentration areas in Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KUAS) and multiple development projects have been going on since 2011. Having established the fact that commercial simulator software no longer fulfilled the requirements for the changing needs of the driving education field, the decision to develop Unreal-based driving simulator was made. S.E.A.T simulation environment combines the driving simulator expertise and knowledge of KUAS personnel with outstanding graphics and flexibility of the Unreal engine, creating completely new and innovative education environment.
Teaching driving theory is mostly done by showing static images of driving situations and giving multiple
choice questions based on this image. This will enable the students to learn which answer is right but it does not increase their knowledge on why a certain action is right. S.E.A.T environment starts with the same static image but offers the students chance to rewind the situation and to either watch a playback based on their choices or to drive the situation on their own. After the situation, an analysis of the performance will be shown; providing student an in-depth view on what was the right course of action, what should they pay attention to, and what was done right or wrong.
Realistic driving experience can be achieved by driving around in a modified Volkswagen Polo, which can be used to navigate the virtual environment. Technology developed in KUAS transfers CAN Bus data into a joystick, making it possible use real car controllers that include light switches and turn signals. Using a real gearbox and force feedback steering makes the driving experience as close to real as possible.
The whole virtual environment is compatible with the new virtual reality technology, Oculus Rift. This opens up completely new areas for driver education since looking around in a car and concentrating on the right areas are very important for a successful driving performance. Practicing parking and other gaze-oriented skills with the simulator are much simpler with more realistic driving view.
It is important to know what your students are feeling while they are learning to drive. Driver monitoring system offers ways to combine car-related and task data with physiological measurements, e.g. eye movements and heart rate. This system will provide the teacher the option to see where the students are concentrating and instruct them to pay attention to the right things.
Feeling the car is also very important for realistic driving experience. The driving simulator is integrated with a 6DOF motion platform, giving the driver access to a whole range of driving motions. This combined with virtual reality technology, driving feels like it should since you can feel the road and the driving maneuvers you perform adding a whole new layer of realism to the education experience.
Not everybody has access to high quality motion platforms and shortened versions of Volkswagen Polos so the whole education environment has been designed to run on varying hardware environments. You can use the software with single screen on a web browser, or add as many screen as your computer hardware allows. The whole system is very robust and it is designed to be modified based on the needs of the driving school.
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