D-BOX technology adds a dimension of true-to-life motion to the realtime technologies system
Richard Romano is president of Realtime Technologies, Inc, a division of FAAC Incorporated. They specialize in delivering research driving simulators, and support a wide variety of customers. Their systems are used to give feedback on suspension and driver comfort, ride handling, and new highway designs.
They’re also used to design active safety systems, and are also making a foray into the exciting realm of autonomous vehicles.
RTI customers fall into three industries: automotive, U.S. government and their suppliers, and universities.
Customers in the auto industry use the systems primarily for active safety and autonomous vehicle research, as well as for how the driver will respond to various cues from the vehicle,” states Romano.“The U.S. military and government, and their suppliers like Osh Kosh, BAE and General Dynamics, use the software and hardware to design off-road vehicles. The universities are doing more fundamental research, learning the best tactics for driver interaction, highway design, signage, and more.
Forward-thinking Realtime has been working with simulators since its inception in 1998. “We offer a mix of solutions, but find that D-BOX is the ideal solution for customers who need the realism of motion and the convenience of a small actuator,” says Romano.
While Realtime works with a variety of systems, they’ve partnered with D-BOX for about the last three years, ever since the release of the higher payload actuators. They were, in fact, some of the earliest adopters of the D-BOX 6 inch heavy payload actuators.
D-BOX is really great for providing ride comfort feedback and vertical vibration. The controllability of the roll and pitch is really important as well – the pitch itself helps in reducing simulator sickness because we can pitch the cab to match the angle of the simulator screen so the motion matches the visual. Hitting that sweet spot really makes a difference.
The design for Realtime motion-enabled simulators is unique, “We deliver simulators in two different configurations. One is a quarter cab or a half cab, which is just the seat and dashboard sitting on top of a motion platform. The other uses maximum payload actuators with a complete vehicle model on top. We just strip out the power train and suspension and put it on top of the actuator.” Systems such as these are being leveraged heavily by the automotive industry and universities.
When asked about the customer’s impression of the D-Box,
Customer feedback from those using D-BOX enabled systems is positive – they’re happy with the bandwidth and just how much acceleration you can get out of the system. They appreciate the ability to represent the higher frequency road noises and vibrations, and customers are really impressed by it.
Recently, Realtime has started working with autonomous vehicles.
We’ve built our own autonomous vehicle controller called SimDriver. We have eight simulators in Silicon Valley and a growing number across the rest of the country where people are researching autonomous vehicle design. It’s a really exciting time, and we’re glad to be involved at such a ground level. There is a lot of challenges to be worked out, like how the autonomous vehicles will react to other cars, pedestrians, how to behave at intersections, and how to ensure the driver stays engaged. Even though the car is autonomous, it still needs a conscious, alert driver, so a lot of our research focuses on driver monitoring and engagement.
Realtime is partnering with companies like Nissan, GM, Ford, Daimler, and Honda on these groundbreaking technologies.