A highly dynamic driving simulator (DS) operates in a limited motion space with the mission of representing driving maneuvers to a test person that in reality extend over a larger space. Rail systems are currently used in industry for high-end DS. In order to improve the achievable immersion, it is necessary to increase the movement space compared to current systems. However, the mass as well as acquisition and operating costs of the systems also increase as a result. Today's DS concepts thus have reached a limit regarding the achievable quality of motion simulation, which reduces the extensive use of DS for the development of driver assistance systems, especially in urban environments. FZD is therefore investigating a new concept that replaces rail systems with driven and infinitely steerable wheels which accelerate the DS's movement platform. With such a mobile tire-bound DS, there is the potential of enabling a high immersion quality and extensive representability of traffic scenarios at considerably reduced costs. The range of motion can be flexibly adapted to the requirements of the scenario to be simulated, whereby, for example, comprehensive scenarios can be simulated on large driving dynamics surfaces of test areas.
A simulative and prototypical development environment for omnidirectional motion concepts of a DS platform was created within the framework of a project funded by the German National Academic Foundation and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The research platform MORPHEUS (Mobile omnidirectional platform for highly dynamic, tire-bound driving simulation), which was developed within this course, was put into operation for the first time at FZD on 4 February 2015. The basic feasibility of the new concept was proven in simulations and tests based on objectively measurable criteria.
Based on the previous research results, the MORPHEUS project was continued under the name MORPHEUS 2.0. The development of a demonstrator suitable for test person studies is currently ongoing. The aim of the project is to validate that the DS also proves itself in subject studies and that at least the same or even higher immersion quality compared to the current state of the art is achieved at significantly reduced costs. For this purpose, a platform enlarged by a factor of two compared to the first prototype, including driver cabin and simulation environment is developed and set up at FZD. Further steps are the investigation of suitable control concepts for the realistic representation of accelerations as well as the development of an integral safety concept for the safe execution of test person studies.
The planned set up consists of a cabin in which the mock up and its components for the drivers inputs (gas and brake pedal, steering wheel) are placed. The driver wears a head mounted display (HTC Vive Pro) for the visualization of the simulated scene. The mockup is based on three linear actuators which are used to represent high frequency vibrations (e.g. induced by a combustion engine). The entire cabin is mounted on a hexapod with six degrees of freedom, which can represent acceleration forces by tilting the cabin. This setup is carried by a 3-wheeled platform, which also features a high-voltage accumulator and other components such as computing units and control cabinets. The wheel units are electrically driven and steered and have unlimited steering angles so that the WMDS can move quickly in any spatial direction.
Since the WMDS is intended to be mobile and operated on flexible free spaces, it requires a safety concept that can also be used on a mobile basis and protects against both internal faults and potential collision objects from the environment. Therefore, we are developing LIDAR sensor based safety functions: a collision protection and a position determination with artificial landmarks. MORPHEUS is to be operated at the August Euler Airfield in Griesheim. Since Until its completion, the virtual prototype already enables many simulations in the target environment for the development of the control concepts and safety functions.
While the wheel based motion platform is still under construction, the upper part with hexapod and driver's cabin is already in use for driving simulation experiments in our FZD workshop.
The research on this topic is supported by international experts from the field of driving simulation in form of a research committee. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the funding measure “Validation of the technological and social innovation potential of scientific research – VIP+”.
Fields of Research:
- Development of control algorithms and evaluation
- Integral safety concept and test procedures
Responsible employees: Torben Albrecht, Xing Chen, Melina Lutwitzi