A modern vehicle may be considered a “work of art”. Its features and functions go far beyond the sum of its individual components that can be combined together as a modular system. The interdisciplinary approach of systems engineering uses this fact and provides an appropriate framework for successful vehicle development.
Vehicle systems are becoming ever more complex and interconnected and can no longer be considered in isolation from each other. So, they must be tested under realistic conditions, i.e. in scenarios, in the context of the whole vehicle. This has resulted in an increase in the requirements of the development process, making the calibration and validation of vehicle systems more and more complex. In the automotive industry, several types of simulators are increasingly used for the development of active safety and driver assistance systems. These systems have become key properties of the resulting product, and are, therefore, involved in the development of a new vehicle from early concept stages up to prototype and series testing.
Nothing beats taking an actual car for an actual drive, but virtual reality can whet buyer appetites for the real thing and can also offer researchers an opportunity to see a broader variety of avenues than can physically fit in few equations. Driving is one of the most complex behavioral tasks familiar to a significant portion of the population. But unfortunately, road traffic casualties are becoming great issues of concern for general populace as well as government. The analysis of road accident data 2015 by MRTH reveals that about 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads. These alarming figures indicate great potential for employing research skills in alleviating traffic casualties considering people, vehicle and traffic environment. Development of our driving simulator helps create realistic scenarios as means of realizing these requirements
The above scenario is representative of design issues being evaluated at our Virtual Proving Ground Simulation Laboratory, located in the Engineering Design Department, IIT Madras. It is a fully immersive ground-vehicle simulator that can place the operator in highly realistic driving environments. These environments range from the automated highway scenario described above, to rugged off-road proving-ground environments.