Academy Users Report
Smart Mobility Research Center,
Faculty of Engineering,
Chulalongkorn University

Conducts research on traffic issues in Thailand by using 6DOF simulator with Nagoya University and shares the study results

Faculty of Engineering,
Chulalongkorn University

URL: www.me.eng.chula.ac.th
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Research contents: This Thai oldest university established in 1917 is ranked as the best university in Thailand. Located in Bangkok city and is called as "University of Tokyo in Thailand" in Japan. The university has 19 faculties and 23 colleges and research institutes such as Engineering, Medicine, Science, Architecture, Agricultural, Law, Economics, Art, and Sports Science.
Students: about 38,000
School personnel: about 2,800

Assistant Professor Nuksit Noomwongs (left) and Associate Professor Angkee Sripakagorn (right), Smart Mobility Research Center, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University

Chulalongkorn University that is located in the city of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is ranked as the Thailand's best university and is also called as "University of Tokyo in Thailand" in Japan. The "Smart Mobility Research Center" situated in the building of the Faculty of Engineering has introduced a 6DOF driving simulator corresponding to Forum8's VR software "UC-win/Road" in June 2017.

Specialists in various engineering fields such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, and computer engineering are gathering at the Smart Mobility Research Center (SMRC). The whole Chulalongkorn University is working on the research development of smart, safe, and sustainable transportations for Thai society and citizens. It also collaborates with Japanese companies and universities such as Toyota Motor Corporation, Isuzu Motors Limited, Nagoya University, and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.

Conducts experiments on senior driver's driving behavior
Introduced DS to solve "carsickness" issue

Nowadays, one of the major research field of SMRC is driving behaviors in the aging society. Like many countries in the world, elderlies account for 20% of Thai population, which proves that Thailand is heading towards an aging society. Chulalongkorn University attaches importance to this trend and positions it as one of principal study issues.

SMRC started to investigate senior drivers cooperating with the cognitive fitness center of Chulalongkorn hospital. SMRC is now focusing on how cognitive capacity affects driving ability, and Forum8's 6DOF simulator is already being used for this study.

Associate Professor Nuksit Noomwongs at SMRC says that seniors sometimes do not pay attention to surrounding traffic situation when they join a highway. Therefore, he measures their driving abilities with driving simulator and tests their cognitive abilities with "Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery" (CANTAB) developed by Cambridge Cognition.

"At first, we projected the driving simulator images created with the product of Carnetsoft in the Netherlands on the three screens and used a driving device with fixed cockpit. However, we could not conduct sufficient experiments since its large screen, real view, and inability to reproduce movement caused carsickness to those who experienced it", reviews Assoc. Prof. Noomwongs.

Therefore, SMRC started to seek a motion platform to reproduce movements during driving and decided to introduce Forum8's driving simulator by way of the collaborative study with Nagoya University. The simulator was delivered in the laboratory of SMRC in June 2017.

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3D digital city modeling of Thailand created in UC-win/Road

The same platform as one being used at Nagoya University enables the comparison of study result

One of the reason that Chulalongkorn University chose Forum8's driving simulator was to facilitate the cooperation and collaborative study with the "National Innovation Complex (NIC)", a base of industry-academia collaborative researches in Nagoya University. NIC also introduced Forum8's high-precise driving simulator with 6DOF motion plate in 2015 and is using it for studies such as "mobility society that senior people become lively".

Prof. Tetsunori Haraguchi, who is a special appointed professor of Nagoya University and the head of industry-university cooperation at COI base in Institute of Innovation for Future Society, has interaction with SMRC through activities such as playing a chairman at The 2nd Automotive Engineers Forum held in Chulalongkorn University in September 2016. Forum8 also sponsored this event three times. Around 2015, Prof. Haraguchi brought Assoc. Prof. Noomwongs to Forum8 Tokyo Head office, and he experienced a variety of driving simulators.

The 5-screen VR driving simulator delivered to Nagoya University
and Prof. Haraguchi

"I think that using a simulator with the same platform as Nagoya University uses has an advantage to compare study results of driver behaviors and autonomous driving with Nagoya University. One of the factor I decided to introduce the simulator was of course because I highly evaluated the performance of it after I actually experienced it", says Assoc. Prof. Noomwongs.

Students in master's course and undergraduates already started to utilize the driving simulator for experiments to investigate driving behaviors of impaired drivers and senior drivers. In addition, students at the faculty of civil engineering also want to use it for their studies.

Advanced research activities using a driving simulator is liked by students. Three or four master's degree students and about 30 undergraduates join the laboratory every year. More than a dozen students were preparing for an experiment and developing programs in the laboratory, being surrounded by an experiment vehicle for autonomous driving, model vehicle, and computers.

A vehicle under remodeling to an autonomous driving vehicle High-energy students

Safety, ITS, and motorizing are three main components of study
Driving simulator accelerates the study

Researches on automobile being conducted at SMRC covers three main fields.

The first field is a collision prevention system called "Active & Pre Crash Safety". The core of this study is to collect driving behavior data by using drive recorders. In the current study, the students are investigating the detection of hazardous driving and the lane departure alarm system from GPS data and driver's biological data. This research is for technologies for the autonomous driving such as the Automatic Emergency Brake system (AEB), Lane Keep Assist system (LKA), and braking and steering operation to minimize the collision from behind.

The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) is the second field. it contains various studies related to traffics such as eco driving, Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication (V2V), and collecting probe vehicle data and estimating travel time in order to recognize the traffic distribution. SMRC also participates in social experiment known as "WBCSD SMP 2.0 Bangkok" (Sathon model). In this experiment, a variety of measurements are conducted to solve traffic issues in "Sathon District", which is a high-building street in Bangkok.

The third field is a research development of electronic vehicles. Energy usage of battery vehicle and hybrid vehicle, and research on battery, fuel cell, and super capacitor are included in this study. Supported by Ministry of Energy, SMRC attends a project estimating the amount of energy consumed by those vehicles under the traffic situation in Bangkok.

 Assault new study themes by utilizing the 6DOF DS

SMRC is planning to expand studies about driving behavior by utilizing the newly installed Forum8's 6DOF driving simulator. In the field of safety driving, many people is paying attention to the point that actual driving environments can be reproduced by importing drive recorder data to the simulator.

For example, we cannot research on drink drive and drowsy driving without a driving simulator. The Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and autonomous driving function are also able to be tested on the drive simulator. Besides, the reproduction of the situation just before accidents may be able to explain what premonitory behaviors cause the accidents. Parameters obtained from experiments can be compared with study results made by Nagoya University, and it seems to be a benefit.

 Develops original driving simulators

This time, SMRC introduced Forum8's 6DOF driving simulator, but it has developed a lot of driving simulators since 2005 on its own. The fact that the engineers of SMRC who well understand technical challenges and difficulties of development chose the Forum8 product has great meaning. The followings are the history of the developments.

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The 1st generation (2005)
The first driving simulator was created in 2005. It could read commands for steering wheel, acceleration, and braking, but did not have a steering force feedback function. This simulator used a single track vehicle model (bicycle model), and simple geometric configuration was used for the program of the computer graphic on the display. The vehicle model and graphics were written by "MATLAB".
As for the steering operation, some force feedback system was designed and attached to the steering wheel. SMRC tested direct drive, belt system, and multi-stage pulley. An inertia disk was also included in the steering column to simulate the inertia of the steering system.

The 2nd generation (2006)
In 2006, SMRC introduced a 3DOF driving simulator without traffic model and a vehicle body from the US. The simulator and the model cooperated. Driver's driving control is transmitted to the model car, and the driver could receive feedback of the dynamic reaction from the model car in return. A camera equipped to the model car was used to observe miniature roads. This research was useful for the reduction of cost and risk in strict car test situation.
SMRC also tried to recreate pitch and roll movements with this simulator and reviewed roll movement affecting driving performance for "tuk tuk", a three-wheeler operated with a steering bar. The effect of the roll and pitch movement to ease rollover was also verified.
The graphic processing was improved by the introduction of "Unity3D".

The 3rd generation (2008)
The 3rd generation driving simulator was developed for the evaluation of eco driving with a support by Tri Petch Isuze Sales Co., Ltd. Although it did not have any motion plate, it used the precise data of axis directional acceleration characteristics obtained by experiments using real Isuzu pick-up truck. Accurate fuel consumption could be estimated since the data included engine and convertor dynamics. Unity3D was used for graphics.

The 4th generation (2010)
Based on the existing version, a steering force feedback system including motor, transmission belt, multi turn potentiometer, and inertia disk was added. The system was used to investigate behaviors of driver and the steer-by-wire system considering force feedback gain and dead zone of steering system.

●The 5th generation (2011)
This simulator was developed as a simulator of counter-balance type forklift. The system was constructed to interface commands of steering, acceleration, and braking by using Unity3D software and LabVIEW.
A system using three 3D projectors and head tracking camera could be constructed. Forklift driver could learn to move pallet up and down by viewing it stereoscopically. The graphic was based on the direction of driver's head, and driver could see pallet and fork from another angle when he/she moved head.

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