CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 2, 1999
National Advanced Driving Simulator project at UI attracts
$1.72 million in federal contracts
IOWA CITY, Iowa --
The Virtual Proving Ground Division of the National Advanced Driving Simulator
(NADS) at the University of Iowa has received two contracts from the U.S.
Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) with a total value of $1.72
The first, a two-year $720,000 project, will enable
TACOM's motion simulators to conduct real-time simulations of tanks and other
vehicles through network integration with the NADS. Under the terms of the
contract, which began Nov. 1, 1998, NADS is providing high-resolution terrain
databases representing the Aberdeen Proving Ground and other Army test facilities.
The second, a three-year, $1 million project that
began Jan. 1, involves the development of a virtual proving ground for vehicles
and heavy equipment. John Deere, through the National Science Foundation Industry/University
Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) at the University of Iowa, also provides
financial support concurrent with TACOM's funding for development of simulation
According to L.D. Chen, professor of mechanical engineering
and interim NADS director, the two projects are a significant addition to
research activities at NADS.
"In the first project, the NADS research group will
develop capabilities to link the NADS simulator with other simulators," Chen
said. "NADS can be a national, as well as a global, center for advanced simulators.
"The second project will be a fine example of the
duality of technology developed for military and civilian applications. Other
current research activities include developing high fidelity and real-time
simulation for vehicles and heavy equipment and devising tools for synthetic
visual environments," he said.
He noted that although the NADS simulator will not
be completed until next year, NADS researchers will be able to purchase simulator
time from the university's five-year-old Iowa Driving Simulator, if their
projects should require demonstration in the interim.
The leaders of the two projects are: Dario Solis,
Modeling and Simulation Branch chief; Yiannis Papelis, Simulator Technology
Branch chief; and James Turner, Virtual Proving Ground Division manager. The
director of I/UCRC is Edward Haug, Carver Distinguished Professor of Mechanical
Engineering and NADS founder.
The NADS research group is housed in the new NADS
Building at the University of Iowa's Oakdale Research Park. Currently under
construction and expected to be operational in May of 2000, the NADS simulator
will be a national shared-use facility. It will be the world's most advanced
driving simulator for research to achieve fundamental
improvements in highway safety and transportation efficiency, and to enhance
vehicle and equipment product development effectiveness without the need to
construct expensive prototypes. The NADS project includes a $34 million federal
government contract with TRW Inc. of San Diego to construct the simulator
and UI and state contributions of about $12 million for the NADS building
and UI software.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), through a nationwide competition, selected the UI as the site for
a national, shared-use driving simulator facility in 1992 and is developing
it as a cooperative effort with the university. In addition to being the most
advanced device of its kind in the world, NADS at the UI is also a research
organization, composed of experts in the areas of vehicle dynamics and simulation,
simulator technology and virtual reality environment, and human factors. Researchers
from medicine, engineering and other fields will conduct interdisciplinary
research, for example, aimed at reducing the estimated 90 percent of all vehicle
crashes in which human behavior is a factor. NADS is useful to researchers
from government, industry and universities for the study of such phenomena
as the effects of fatigue, aging, medical conditions, vehicle engineering
and highway design on driver performance.