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‘The Ultimate Driving Simulator’: Volvo Introduces Gaming Technology To Develop Safer Cars

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One of the world’s leading car companies has reached another milestone in their ongoing research into making vehicles safer.

Through advanced mixed-reality technology, Volvo intends to make the next step in making ground-breaking strides towards safe, autonomous driving technology.

Just this month, the Swedish company, which is represented locally by Gasan Zammit Motors, broke news regarding their latest endeavour.

The technology used in their simulation setup mixes the Teslasuit, Varjo Mixed Reality Headset and Unity Simulation Engines.

The Teslasuit is used for advanced study into the reactions and forces exerted on a person during experiences such as a car crash. The Varjo Mixed Reality Headset became the first car maker to allow one to wear a mixed reality headset whilst driving a real car, whilst the Unity Simulation Engines are used in order to create real-time 3D environments and objects within the simulation.

Among the advantages, this new simulation technology allows engineers to test how their vehicles would act in scenarios that are either too dangerous to test with a person or are too rare to happen on their own.

“This combination of software and hardware allows Volvo’s engineers to endlessly simulate traffic scenarios on a real test track road while using a real car, all in total safety,” Volvo said, adding that “engineers can gain important insights on the interaction between people and the car for development of new safety, driver assistance and autonomous driving features.”

Through this, testers can be exposed to an endless number of scenarios both in test labs and on real test track roads. Testing of everything from the latest driver assistance features to upcoming autonomous drive user interfaces are all able to be undertaken in complete safety.

“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,” said Casper Wickman, senior leader of User Experience at Volvo’s Open Innovation Arena. Wickman went on to state that through the simulation setup, testers are able to “drive actual cars in through traffic scenarios that look and feel real but can be adjusted at the touch of a button”.

With the simulation feeling as real as possible, Volvo went on to clarify that this too is a main focus of their simulation – making it hard to discern reality from simulation.

Volvo has stressed that this presentation of the ‘ultimate driving simulator’ is purely for research and there are no promises that these sorts of things will be implemented in the next Volvo car.

However, what they are doing is testing human behaviour in the simulated scenarios to be able to develop safer cars.

“Since the three-point safety belt was invented by Volvo Cars in 1959, it has saved over a million lives. Today, we are going to look at the next step: how we are going to save a million more.” Robyn Nel from Volvo’s Communications began in a livestream. She reiterated that Volvo was looking to “see ultimately what we’re going to do to help save the next million lives, and the million more after that”.

The full livestream can be viewed here, whilst you can also download a summary video of the whole event here.

What do you think about Volvo’s simulation technology? Comment below!

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