In what could be a subtle nod to BMW, Volvo has developed what it calls ‘the ultimate driving simulator’.
The mixed-reality simulator is being used to make new strides in safety and autonomous driving technology. This follows news that Volvo is dropping cars from a crane to help rescue services to prepare for any possible crash scenario.
Volvo’s ‘ultimate driving simulator’ features a moving driving seat, a steering wheel with haptic feedback and a virtual reality headset more familiar to gamers.
Volvo says its simulator takes things to the next level, blurring the line between simulation and reality.
The simulator involves driving a real car on real roads. By wearing a Teslasuit full-body haptic suit, Volvo’s test drivers can physically feel small reproductions of the forces one would experience in a crash. The key difference being that the driver experiences no actual risk.
Testers are exposed to an imagined active safety and driver assistance feature, upcoming autonomous drive user interfaces and future car models. In 2019, Volvo, with help from Varjo, became the first car manufacturer to make it possible to drive a real car while wearing a mixed reality headset.
This data can be used by engineers to gain insights on the interaction between people and the car. The aim: to develop new safety, driver assistance and autonomous driving tech.
‘Look and feel totally real’
Casper Wickman, senior leader of user experience at Volvo’s Open Innovation Arena, said: “Working together with great companies like Varjo, Unity and Teslasuit has allowed us to test so many scenarios that look and feel totally real, without having to physically build anything.
“It lets us test drive actual cars in through traffic scenarios that look and feel real, but can be adjusted at the touch of a button.
“By using this cutting-edge technology, we are exploring and leading the development for creating safe cars in the future. It’s great to play a part in that.”