The scope of the project was to develop virtual representations of real roads to be used in driving simulators. These simulator roads can be used in studies where similarity between a simulator road and the real road is of benefit. Now, at the end of the project there are at least two following studies known that will use these roads.
The main aim of this project was to develop virtual representations of real roads for use in driving simulators. This was done in order to enable assessments of new systems on existing and well known roads in a driving simulator. This will increase the external validity of virtual testing. Furthermore, the usage of the virtual model of such roads makes the simulator results better comparable to earlier performed or later following road tests.
In order to ease the overall creation of virtual models of real roads as exactly as possible, and to enable the use of existing map data, there was a need to develop effective and efficient tools that can generate virtual road models more or less automatically from various data sources.
The roads connecting Göteborg-Borås-Alingsås-Göteborg were selected. The purpose for this is due to their proximity to the vehicle industry in west Sweden and to the test tracks “Hällered” and “AstaZero”. However, the tools and methods developed can be used to build a virtual representation of any other road.
The project was carried out in steps, starting with data collection (investigation and assessment of available data) followed by data treatment (remove irrelevant data and errors, filtering, etc.), modelling (mathematical description of road properties) and simulation (selection of data formats for real time simulation).
The description of the roadway through a landscape was broken into three main geometric parts: alignment (the route of the road in two-dimensional plane, described by clothoid splines), height profile (described by cubic splines) and cross-section (crossfall and banking, described by cubic splines).
The main results though, are the virtual models, methods and tools developed. The project has been financially supported by the competence centre ViP, i.e. by ViP partners and the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA).
The software developed in the project is available at the ViP common software platform ViPForge, https://www.vipforge.se/. Access is granted to ViP partners by the ViPForge administrator Jonas Andersson Hultgren at VTI (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Learnings from the project are:
- Although a lot of modelling could be done automatically, there was still quite some manual work in order to reach an overall representative simulator road, both regarding the road description and the graphics of the road environment.
- It was found that the format OpenDRIVE tends to build up very large and complex databases and that it should be complemented by a format that better can handle open surfaces and complex road environments.
- In this project an alternative way of describing road roughness, Road Short Wave (RSW), was developed. The benefits of the RSW format is its compact and analytic format.