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Users ReportUser Introduction/Vol.93
Sunderland University(UK) Special feature of Europe users 3
Sunderland University/AMAP

Focused on the research of electronic vehicles and low carbon vehicles
Utilization of driving simulation with UC-win/Road

User Information
Faculty of Applied Sciences, Sunderland University / Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP)
URL: http://centres.sunderland.ac.uk/amap/ Location: Sunderland(UK)
Research field: Electronic vehicle, Low carbon vehicle, Human factor research

Research base of carbon vehicles

The Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) is a part of the Faculty of Applied Sciences within the University of Sunderland. AMAP purchased a UC-win/Road license and an iDrive Driving Simulator for research into Electric Vehicles and LCV (Low Carbon Vehicles) as well as for a range of human factors research (HMI).

Over recent years the University and AMAP have established a centre of excellence at Sunderland in Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) technology and their staff are active in a wide range of R & D projects involving, for example; electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicle technology, fuel cells, advanced manufacturing in the LCV industry, lightweight materials, vehicle safety and crashworthiness.

Sunderland University's plans for the future involve building on the strong platform they have developed for further strengthening the research into Low Carbon Vehicle Technology.
Prof. David Crolla, AMAP

Utilization of eco-drive plug-in

The University is continuing to develop in the delivery of projects across the automotive, manufacturing and maintenance sectors, and they intend to work with regional industries to reinforce Sunderland as the leading UK Centre of Excellence for LCV Technology.

HMI (Human Machine Interaction) Research at Sunderland utilizes the state of the art FORUM8 driving simulator to conduct LCV simulations investigating user experience requirements and enhancements for LCVs, contributing to the user acceptability agenda.

The driving simulator using the UC-win/Road software along with the `EcoDrive' plug-in, combined with eye tracking and other HMI methodologies provides an ideal test-bed to safely research various information systems, providing vehicle designers/manufacturers with knowledge on how people use their vehicles.

Driving simulators are commonly used as part of driver training, particularly by large fleet operators of vans and trucks. Sunderland University and AMAP are also working with driving schools and other key road safety practitioners with a view to developing a driver education program for LCV users in appropriate and safe use of their vehicle.

Research project with UC-win/Road
-introduced in AMAP's website
iDrive type of DS
VR model (London) created with Eco-drive plugin by AMAP and used for their research

Comparison test using simulator

Professor David Crolla of AMAP explained; "There is already a vast range of Low Carbon Vehicles (LCVs) available in prototype and commercial forms. They include many different technological solutions: mild hybrid, full hybrid, petrol-electric, diesel-electric, plug-in electric, range-extender electric etc. Also, they include most vehicle applications: commuter cars, passenger cars, vans, light trucks, buses, and small utility vehicles.

The key performance incentives behind these vehicles are reduced energy usage and reduced carbon-based emissions. And the main method used to assess vehicle performance and compare it with current IC engine based vehicles is to 'drive' the vehicle over one of the globally agreed driving cycles. In fact, these tests actually take place under controlled laboratory conditions on a rolling road dynamometer.

Although such tests inevitably arouse considerable controversy, they are nevertheless accepted by the industry as a fair, controlled method of comparison. Nevertheless, the results bear little resemblance to real world practical driving.

Therefore this research project has the overall aim of comparing the real world performance of LCVs using a state of the art driving simulator from Forum8. Our aim is to:

1. Develop mathematical models of different LCVs
2. Integrate these models into the Forum8 driving simulator software UC-win/Road
3. Conduct simulator-based studies using typical driver groups to compare the performance of competing vehicles in terms of economy and emissions
4. Develop a unique simulator-based test bed for the LCV industry to conduct laboratory testing on prototype LCV designs

The research challenge is to include sufficient detail of the components - engines, motors, batteries, power electronics, gearboxes etc - to capture realistic predictions of the overall energy usage characteristics, but without excessive mathematical complexity.

The outputs from these models which will run in real time will then be integrated with the 3D VIS simulator software UC-win/Road. A verification exercise of the modeling approach will be conducted using a well-known vehicle example such as the Toyota Prius, whose performance properties are well understood and accepted.

Laboratory based experiments using cohorts of typical drivers will then be designed with the aim of comparing different LCV designs with equivalent IC based engine vehicles over the same driving scenarios. The simulator offers a unique facility for doing this under carefully controlled conditions but still using inputs from real drivers in contrast to the nominal optimal operating points selected for the current standard driving cycle tests."