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Inside Virttex, Ford's Driver Distraction Simulator

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the hands-inside-the-simulator dept.

Transportation 126

An anonymous reader writes "After my collision the world went blank but I didn't see angels and harps because the highway and the crash situation were imaginary, created inside Ford's Virttex (virtual text track experiment cockpit simulator). Functioning much like a simulator for pilots, this domed virtual world on pitching and sliding stilts has been used to test car cockpits and instruments since 2001. It played a role in the development of recent center stacks such as MyFord Touch. In recent years, Ford used Virttex driver distraction research to learn more about what causes driver inattention and what countermeasures Ford can embed into cars to keep people like me from becoming another Darwinian statistic. It also gives Ford a leg up on the competition — Ford says it's the only automaker in the U.S. with a virtual reality simulator of this magnitude."

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Our Shields... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850463)

Our cruisers can't repel a virtual reality simulator of this magnitude!

We should test all drivers inside simulator also ! (3, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850699)

While speeding is the leading cause for most traffic accidents, one can't deny that unskilled drivers also contributed to a significant portion of traffic mayhem

Current system of testing / passing drivers are often way too insufficient - as long as the driver can manage to drive the test car without any mishaps they are rewarded a driver license - resulted in many drivers who are totally unprepared and unskilled to handle heavy and often very tricky traffic situations (like water planing, ice-skitting, and such)

I believe it comes time to upgrade the DMV with simulator, and those who want to obtain a driver license must first demonstrate their skills in the simulator, with all sort of situational scenario thrown in

This can lessen a significant portion of traffic mishaps and cut down the number of traffic injuries and deaths
 

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (5, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850771)

I would say that speeding is the cause of near zero traffic accidents. It merely magnifies other causes (and effects).

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850807)

Indeed, the accident requires somebody to stop, if nobody slowed down, everybody would go too feast to hit each other.

Thus the solution is to require all vehicles to accelerate into infinity.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (2, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851053)

I would say that speeding is the cause of near zero traffic accidents.

 
Speeding vehicles in the hands of the inexperienced drivers are very very deadly

On the other hand, most experienced drivers do not drive like crazy
 

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851411)

I would say that speeding is the cause of near zero traffic accidents. It merely magnifies other causes (and effects).

But it magnifies the effects by the square of the speed, so driving twice as fast is four times as dangerous.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852389)

What's "danger"? If you define "danger" as the chance of a crash, then 4 times the energy does not result in 4 times the danger. If you define "danger" as damage when you hit a solid wall, then yes, double the speed is four times as dangerous. But I don't know anyone who defines "danger" as "damage assuming a negative event". Even risk, a defined term (danger is an emotional term with definitions that are different for most people), doesn't have that direct link. Risk is the probability of harm multiplied by the value of that harm. So the greater the damage for the same probability of incident, the greater risk. The greater the chance of an incident, when all incidents are the same harm, the greater the risk. The problem is that probabilities and damage are largely ignored and uncorrelated. High speed crashes are much more likely to have lower imapct (pun intended). You side-swipe someone for little damage. The lower the speeds, especially of one of the vehicles, the greater the damage (i.e. one person stops on the interstate, someone hits them at 45 mph in a 65 mph, and the damage will be high, and it will be listed as "speed related" when neither vehicle was speeding.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851563)

I have to disagree, although it depends on your definition of speeding. Speeding will make you run more yellow/reds, have less time to pay attention to the road and increase your braking distance significantly. The latter could lead to accidents that wouldn't otherwise have happened if the driver wasn't speeding. It depends where you draw the line though. Others could say that the distance between the cars matters more than your speed if someone brakes in front of you on the highway, but at the same time people expect that you drive at a reasonable speed when they change lanes/brake/move in and out of exits.

So is the accident where a driver passes a red because he cannot brake in time due to his speed and then gets t-boned classified as speeding or as passing a red light?

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (4, Insightful)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851847)

The problem with the term 'speeding' is that it has two meanings. The first is the simple "exceed the posted speed limit". The second is "too fast for the conditions".

The reality is that an experienced driver will drive to the conditions which in some (many?) cases may include "exceeding the speed limit", and in other cases will be driving far below the posted limit. The same driver is, however, very unlikely to drive "too fast for the conditions".

An inexperienced (or careless) driver on the other hand is likely to do the opposite. In your example, the driver is driving dangerously (irrespective of speed). "Shooting through" red lights is idiocy on the grandest scale (again irrespective of speed), and basically means they weren't paying any attention to the road at all.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851859)

Right, just wanted to clear things up.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (2)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853615)

It's not like an accident can't have multiple checkmarks on 'cause' - speeding, tailgating, running red light, AND drunk.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853759)

True. However, of those in your example, the cause would be "drunk", which probably led to all the others.

If you took away "drunk", then the cause would be "running red light". If you were tailgating someone, then that is an unrelated stupidity that wouldn't otherwise cause the accident in question (which would probably be a T-boning into or by cross traffic).

The only thing speed would have done would have been to increase the kinetic energy of the impact, assuming you were the one doing the T-boning. If it was you getting T-boned, then excessive speed may have been the reason that while spinning out of control you took out three other cars, two pedestrians and a telegraph pole. In which case speed would have definitely been a contributing factor, but not the actual cause.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852247)

The slower I'm going, the less attention I'm paying. If it was legal to go 90, I'd be paying pretty damn close attention to the road! It actually makes it seem suicidally dangerous to eat breakfast or do your hair so people wouldn't even try it, lol.
By the way, I believe we have a video clip [youtube.com] of this simulator in action...

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850967)

but these now-immobilized people might vote for public transit. that would be catastrophic. we'd better revoke their voter registration at the same time.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851085)

Sorry, but speeding rarely is the CAUSE of any accident. Speed differentials can be. And accident damage will increase with speed. But going fast does not, in itself, cause accidents.

And by definition "speeding" is *ANY* speed over the speed limit. Since 98% of people drive over the speed limit (they do here at least), how is it that 98% of cars are not in accidents?

The leading causes of accidents are probably:

* Failure to stop in time because of following too closely
* Not looking/knowing what is in a lane before changing lanes
* Distracted driving of any sort (passengers, phones, controls, etc)
* Falling asleep
* Intoxicated driving
* Reckless driving (weaving, lane splitting, running lights, chicken, etc)

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

jjjhs (2009156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852233)

I wonder why people need to go 10-15 or more over the speed limit? Doesn't have to be an interstate, could be a rural highway (one lane) or any road. Most of the time they just get to a red light or stop sign faster. I don't go more than 5 over, because there is no good reason to. I'm NOT sorry if that isn't good enough for the people behind me, either pass or mail me a check I can use for gas or legal fees.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853439)

Do you know that in fact they are actually going 10 or 15 over?

I have oversized tires on my Land Rover, and now when it says 100km/h on my speedo, I am actually doing 100km/h on the GPS. If I do 139 the 140km/h radar does not yet flash and I don't get a speeding ticket. Prior to getting the larger tires, I thought everyone was doing 160km/h... but they weren't... they were all doing 138km/h - because they didn't want a ticket either.

If I had been going 120km/h on my speedometer before, I would have been creating a 40km/h differential between myself and traffic which would be unsafe and would cost the people in the traffic much more in gas (them hitting the brakes and re-accellerating) then I would have saved.

Sure, it's stupid for people to race red light to red light, but some of us would rather not spend the whole day missing every green and fartzing behind some selfish ass in the far left going 10km/h under the limit because he thinks he's saving a few cents in fuel.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853663)

If it's a rural highway, it shouldn't be known for it's numerous red lights or even stop signs.

In town I tend to attempt to time the lights - if that means going 5mph over to hit the green I'll do it. I'll also do 5mph UNDER to get the green, if that's the way it's timed - I've seen it, and laughed at the cars that pass me doing 5-10mph over towards the red light, and are forced to stop and are just starting up again as I cruise through the light just as it turns green.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852963)

> speeding rarely is the CAUSE of any accident

> * Failure to stop in time because of following too closely
or driving too fast.
> * Not looking/knowing what is in a lane before changing lanes
or not allowing for a car driving faster than expected in that lane.
* Reckless driving (weaving, lane splitting, running lights, chicken, etc)
weaving because they want to drive faster than the flow of traffic and keep switching to a 'faster' lane.

Two guys were killed here recently. They were _speeding_ up a long hill. At the top the curve (well marked with max speed) tightened up. As the curve tightened the _speeding_ car slid over the center line and went under a truck.

This is not an uncommon cause of accidents.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40854201)

In such a case, the cause of the accident was exceeding the capability of that particular vehicle (tires or suspension).

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40854315)

Is the max speed a legal maximum, or an advisory maximum? If it's the latter, then speeding (the crime) was not the cause, but inappropriate speed (too fast for the conditions) was.

This is the main problem with the 'Speeding Kills' mantra: it's not the speed itself, it's whether it's appropriate. Plus, speed doesn't kill; the sudden stop does though.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853357)

If I am on a dark empty two lane road, I often drive center so that way my lights shine further into the ditch to watch for moose on the opposite side. Obviously not when comming to hills or blind corners.

I also sometimes drive towards/over center in areas with street parking and high pedestrain activity - again, when visibility and traffic permits.

I have on more then one ocasion seen toddlers chasing balls come from between parked cars and animals bolt up from the ditch.

In the UAE, often nobody indicates their lane changes... but if you are driving defensively they don't crash into you. In North America, often we think "well if they hit me, it's their fault, so let them hit me. insurance will buy me a new car" - In UAE we think "No way he's hitting me, I don't want to wait for the police or have my car incompetitantly repaired or get 60% for my car"

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853643)

Per this study [seriousaccidents.com] , that would be:

#14 Tailgating
#11 Unsafe lane change
#1 Distracted driving of any sort
#20 Drowsy Driving
#3 drunk driving
#4 Reckless driving

#2 is speeding - It says your reactions slow, my correction would be that you need to react faster to avoid an accident at higher speed. The difference between 60 and 65 can be over 100ft in stopping distance, or the difference between just missing the bumper of the car in front of you and plowing through it.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#40854869)

The explanation of why speed is an accident cause is childish as if speed alone is the culprit. The cause isn't speed, it's drivers exceeding their skill envelope. If you put multiple people of various driving skill levels into the same potentially dangerous situation you will get different outcomes base upon their experience, reaction times, distractions and situational awareness.

Causes of accidents (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40855355)

Which is why I don't really want to bother testing all drivers so much as I'd love to see self-driving cars. A car that can determine it needs to slam on the brakes in 1/100th of a second as opposed to the 1.5 that many humans take means a computer controlled car can stop in a shorter distance at 100mph than a human can at 65.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40855471)

It's not my study, just listing them out. Under your thinking, one could then call speeding reckless driving, which indeed happens when you're speeding excessively.

Still, given how common it is I wouldn't consider including it as a category out of line. Personally, I'd try to only attribute accidents that could have obviously been avoided if they'd been going the speed limit - IE they attempted to brake, but due to their speed were unable to stop in time, while they would have been able to if they had been going the limit.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (2)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851507)

That's not true. The leading cause for most traffic accidents is "failure to yield right-of-way".

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (3, Insightful)

PhilistineGuillotine (2633149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851579)

While speeding is the leading cause for most traffic accidents

False. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/cats/listpublications.aspx?Id=A&ShowBy=DocType [dot.gov] Document 811630 pages 4 and 6 demonstrate that alcohol is just as big a factor in fatal crashes. In fact, I would argue that it is a much bigger factor because a lot more people speed than drink and drive.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (2, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852423)

If you are a designated driver, and your friend is passed out in the back seat, drunk and you stop at a red light and the car behind you falls asleep (sober) and crashes into you, you do know how that gets recorded in statistics, right? It's "alcohol related" because one of the people involved was drunk (and asleep, even if not in control of either car). When *any* alcohol in either car (including the blood stream of the dead body in the trunk) is present, the crash is "alcohol related'. With a definition like that, I'm surprised how *few* crashes are alcohol related.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40854325)

Then the definition is crap. It should only apply to people actually in control of a car, not some comatose passenger in the back seat.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40855337)

Same thing for a drunken pedestrian getting hit by a sober driver. Alcohol-related, even though there was no drunken driving.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40857465)

That one makes sense. After all the alcohol could have contributed to why the pedestrian was in the road.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

Hazelfield (1557317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40856089)

Can you give a citation to that? What statistics is it you're referring to and where can I find the definition you describe? If you're correct that's some very misleading statistics but it's a pretty strong claim so I'd like to see some evidence before buying it.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851749)

I believe it comes time to upgrade the DMV with simulator, and those who want to obtain a driver license must first demonstrate their skills in the simulator

I believe the same thing about marriage licenses.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1, Offtopic)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851977)

I believe it comes time to upgrade the DMV with simulator, and those who want to obtain a driver license must first demonstrate their skills in the simulator

 
I believe the same thing about marriage licenses.

 
Luckily, for marriage, there is a thing known as "living together", ala the "try-first-if-you-like-it-let's-get-married-if-you-don't-bye-bye" alternative

And then ... there's the totally legal "Prenuptial Agreement" contract available
 

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852327)

Speeding is the cause of *all* crashes. Just like having a dead hooker who died of a heroin OD in your trunk when your car breaks down on the train tracks makes the train/car crash "alcohol-related", all crashes are, by definition, speed related. And driving too slow for conditions is used to justify laws against going faster.

The problem is that the politicians have more interest in the laws than the engineers, and appearing to do something by doing the opposite of what you say you are doing is better than doing nothing.

The driving tests are "if nothing goes wrong for the next 5 minutes, will you cause a crash?" If you go 5 minutes crash free, you get a license. Even if the first time something "odd" happens you do cause a crash. And testing in simulators helps with that. But I've tested in a cheap simulator, they suck. There is insufficient feedback about speed, it feels like you are sitting still (because in the cheap simulators, you are), so you go too fast. You also stop deliberately slow (simulating average stopping distances, regardless of actual driver performance).

The testing needs to test for the unusual. Fail 50% of people, and you'll see crashes drop quickly.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853601)

I've heard that speeding isn't the leading, so some research:
Distracted Driving [seriousaccidents.com] (speeding #2)
Distracted Driving [sixwise.com] (Speeding #4)
Not using turn signals 2x worse than distracted driving? [cbslocal.com]
distracted driving [legalmatch.com]
Disparities noticed:
Fatigue: #20 in the first list, #2 in the second

Anyways, I like being distracted; I don't particularly like driving. Bring on the self-driving vehicles! Or other way I can get to work/store without having to be behind the wheel.

Re:We should test all drivers inside simulator als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40854697)

"While speeding is the leading cause for most traffic accidents,"

Please cite your source.

For science (2)

reiserifick (2616539) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850515)

I wonder what they d... Oh look!!! A Squirrel!!

Only? Of which kind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850527)

Ford says it's the only automaker in the U.S. with a virtual reality simulator of this magnitude.

At this point, what automakers /don't/ have some sort of production facility in the US? Do they mean all those, or just traditionally US-associated brands? And if that, do they include Fiat-Chrysler?

Too much wiggle room. Do they just mean 'GM doesn't have one'?

Ford isn't the only one with a simulator. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850759)

Anyone remember the Toyota Simulator [toyotasimulator.com] which went public after the brake pedal / floor mat issue? ;)

(Apparently the site is dead, here's what you saw when you went there (on loop): link [youtube.com] )

Re:Ford isn't the only one with a simulator. (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851217)

That's not "of this magnitude." It's of a similar, neighboring magnitude.

Re:Ford isn't the only one with a simulator. (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#40856105)

Yeah, the "of this magnitude" would be the only difference. My uncle used to work at the Chrysler Proving Grounds, doing fun things like crashing cars into brick walls and dropping a safe on them from a crane. They were running a simulator by at least the early 1970s, and it did lead to changes in Chrysler vehicle designs (in particular moving the stupid high-beam switch off the floor).

Re:Ford isn't the only one with a simulator. (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851591)

I was thinking more of this http://youtu.be/Bi_GkDqON_s [youtu.be]
A order of magnitude larger than the Ford one.

First simulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850533)

From the article:
Ford says it’s the only automaker in the U.S. with a virtual reality simulator of this magnitude.

From reality:
http://www.gizmag.com/lexus-unveils-driving-simulator/16630/

Re:First simulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850635)

And from the 'real' reality:
http://www.lexus-global.com/innovation/index.html#../magazine/driveSimulator [lexus-global.com]

"Welcome to the Driving Simulator at Lexus Headquarters in Japan."

But hey, why let facts get in the way right?

Re:First simulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852057)

Good catch! Maybe the article should have limited it to automakers in the US. What dummies.

We need these in driver license offices (3, Interesting)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850725)

Real-life driving tests are very limited in what they can test. Does the driver continue to drive the speed limit on a slippery road or when visibility is poor? Does the driver stop for pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks? If the car starts hydroplaning, does the driver let off the gas or slam on the brakes?

We have the technology to test all of these situations and more. Why are we still in the 1950s in driver testing?

Re:We need these in driver license offices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850831)

Because if we realised how dangerous a lot of people actually ae on the road and tried to do something about it, those people would be up in arms over not being given their freedom to drive irresponsibly (not their words of course) because driving a car is a human right. it will be some government conspiracy to keep us down

Re:We need these in driver license offices (4, Informative)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850861)

Money, my dear boy.

How much does each one of those things cost? Multiply by the number of DMVs that administer driving tests. Might even need 2 or 3 per DMV.

I'm sure there are other reason as well. Moral guardians not being satisfied with "a video game" demonstrating the proper skills of real-world driving (even though you and I know better) or concerned parents blaming their Little Snowflake's failures on the machine. But money is almost certainly the main limiting factor.

Re:We need these in driver license offices (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851335)

I think we can afford one of those simulators in each state if we cut 10% of the military budget. Hell, we should do that just on principle.

Re:We need these in driver license offices (1)

stepho-wrs (2603473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851651)

How much does an accident cost?
Remember to include:
- physical damage to property (your car, other car, fence, brick wall, light poles, baby carriage, etc)
- ambulance, police, fire, tow truck costs
- hospital costs
- funeral costs
- litigation costs (your car ran into my garden and destroyed my prize winning roses, so I'm going to sue you)

Preventing at least a few accidents costs way less than these machines used to educate drivers.
Knowing the stopping distance of your car at 60mph in the wet is way more important than knowing the 0-60mph time.

On another noted - self-driving cars (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853765)

I once figured out how much a self driving car would be worth.
1. Safety - The system is better than 90% of drivers. It may not get into the same accidents as a human driver, it doesn't get into as many, but it still has them.
Value: ~$700-2100/year. High end is for bad/drunk drivers, otherwise it assumes a 90% average savings on insurance.
2. Average human values their time at around $10/hour. 15k miles/year@40mph = 375 hours
Value: $3,750
3. Due to driving sedately/optimally, it saves 10% gas mileage. (25mpg average, 15k miles, $4/gallon)
Value: $240
4. System has a 5 year lifespan before needing updates/recertification
Worth it if it costs less than $5k/year, or $25k for the system. For a drunk driver, it's more like $6-7k, $30-35k for the system. Or somebody who drives more or values their time more(as long as they can do something more worthwhile while commuting as a result). As seen in California, if it allows a single individual into the 'special' EV/HOA lanes it could be considered worth it for a substantial population even at $100k.

Re:We need these in driver license offices (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852275)

More importantly, how much would it cost per driver license applicant? If you can't afford to be properly tested, why should you be allowed to operate deadly machinery in the presence of others?

Re:We need these in driver license offices (1)

ethanms (319039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853635)

Does the driver stop for pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks?

What's an "unmarked crosswalk"?

Wouldn't a crosswalk, by definition, be "marked"? So do you really mean "pedestrians crossing without a crosswalk?" or "jaywalkers"?

Re:We need these in driver license offices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40855963)

You're still supposed to stop for them if at all possible. If they walk out in front of you with no time to react, it's one thing, but you don't get to plow someone down just because they're jaywalking.

Re:We need these in driver license offices (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 2 years ago | (#40856503)

No. Unmarked crosswalks exist at many intersections. Use Google. Varies by state, I'd imagine.

Here's a clue... (4, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850735)

Stop filling cars with stupid user interfaces for electronic systems that require close visual attention to use! Touch screens are stupid in cars - there's no tactile feedback so you HAVE TO USE YOUR EYES! I think GM are worse than Ford in this respect but they're all at it, even top-end marques like BMW and Mercedes.

I want physical switches with positive tactile feedback whose function is clear and doesn't keep changing in different "modes" just because you're too cheap to provide a separate switch for different things. Cars of the 1960s with great big toggle switches on wooden dashboards were easier to drive than this.

Re:Here's a clue... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851003)

BMW has steadfastly refused to include touch screens, exactly because they require you to take your attention off the road to use. BMW uses a rotating joystick controller located near the shifter, and the UI is designed so that you can glance to and from quickly with little need to maintain context. They also insist on placing the screen very high in the dash to minimize the distance your eyes have to travel when glancing at the screen and maximize your peripheral vision while you are looking.

They also have a full cockpit simulator where they do extensive driver attention studies. Say what you will about the iDrive system, but it gets top marks for minimizing driver distraction.

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852179)

European car makers for years resisted putting basic stuff like cup holders in because they didn't think you'd want to do anything but drive. Then some of them experienced north american traffic.

The european mindset about cars has been much more about paying attention to the fucking road than trying to watch a DVD while you sit in a traffic jam for an hour, and that has given then a bit of a leg up on making sure everything you need to be on the road is well thought out.

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40855255)

European car makers for years resisted putting basic stuff like cup holders in because they didn't think you'd want to do anything but drive. Then some of them experienced north american traffic.

Yes, it's particularly inexplicable that the closest thing that the W126 mercedes (S-class!) have no cup holders, just some of those little circles on the flimsy glove box lid that you could maybe put teacups on... but it's got three ashtrays. Now look, if you're thinking I might want to smoke, why not think I might like to drink, too?

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853493)

Just recently my Lexus rental broke down so they stuck me in an S60 - The Volvo system was MILES above anything else I had driven from a minimal distraction and easy to use while driving standpoint. It had the option to turn off the display automatically when idle, a pushable scroll wheel on the steering wheel, and full telephone and climate control buttons. The NAV screen was also close to the top of the dash and the A2DP/Bluetooth was awesome. Too bad the rest of the car was complete suckage and poorly equipped.

I drive sucks. In the Z4 I rented, I couldn't figure out how to turn the damn screen off. It is horrible to use and you need to maintain context because you will often bump it out of the menu you want to be in. I love the screen being near the window, but if you are going to put it there you should be able to turn off the backlight at night!!

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

Sinister Stairs (25573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40854443)

In the Z4 I rented, I couldn't figure out how to turn the damn screen of... you should be able to turn off the backligfht at night!!

It can be turned off (or dimmed) in my 2007 BMW under Settings | Display, if memory serves. (Settings is accessed by pressing the dial down, rather than "bumping" it like all the other menus.) I mapped that function to one of the steering wheel controls for the precise reason you gave, so with a press of the button it turns on/off at night.

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

ethanms (319039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853673)

BMW has steadfastly refused to include touch screens, exactly because they require you to take your attention off the road to use. BMW uses a rotating joystick controller located near the shifter, and the UI is designed so that you can glance to and from quickly with little need to maintain context. They also insist on placing the screen very high in the dash to minimize the distance your eyes have to travel when glancing at the screen and maximize your peripheral vision while you are looking.

They also have a full cockpit simulator where they do extensive driver attention studies. Say what you will about the iDrive system, but it gets top marks for minimizing driver distraction.

My Honda beats anything BMW has--it has only four controls:

- Volume Knob (left for less noise, right for more noise)
- Seek (doesn't matter if you push up or down as long as you always press the same one)
- Fan (left for less fan, right for more fan)
- Temp (left for less hot, right for more hot)

Done.

No "holding context" in your mind like someone else mentioned about iDrive. No screen in your face. etc. It's very simple and frankly when you are driving a car that's how it should be... I cannot fathom how we've gotten to the point of having two dozen buttons or on-screen controls for "climate control" in a car.

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

Sinister Stairs (25573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40854543)

I don't know which BMW you were comparing with, but mine has the exact same controls you mentioned: Dials for volume and temperature, and buttons for seek and fan.

I don't agree with the GP that "iDrive...gets top marks for minimizing driver distraction" either, but your assessment about requiring a screen and having a dozen buttons is wrong.

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851237)

Cars of the 1960s with great big toggle switches on wooden dashboards were easier to drive than this.

I flew into quite a few of those dashboards as a child, since seatbelts weren't in half the cars then. Plus if they were, we never wore them.

Re:Here's a clue... (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851713)

That's why they're called "dash-boards", it's the board you get dashed against in a crash....

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851401)

Stop filling cars with stupid user interfaces for electronic systems that require close visual attention to use!
...

Cars of the 1960s with great big toggle switches on wooden dashboards were easier to drive than this.

MyFord Touch was such a hit that Ford chose not to include it standard on their best selling product: the F-series of trucks.
Why? Because it was a glitchy mess and they could not afford to jeapordize sales of the best selling truck in America.

For 2013, they're including MyFord Touch standard on some of the premium trim packages,
but it's a modified layout with redundant buttons and knobs for climate and radio/cd control.
The fact that Ford is unwilling to go full retard on their line of trucks makes me wonder what they're thinking by forcing it into the rest of their product lineup.

Re:Here's a clue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852227)

Ford modified the UI so it would work while wearing work gloves, or at least that's the company line.

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

ashpool7 (18172) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851599)

You pretty much nailed why they are pushing this, but they're not going to listen. That's why this simulator exists. It's to fix the problem that was created by solving the problem of "make this car cheaper."

The higher end cars have more features, and therefore even more switches. That's why iDrive came before MyFordTouch. It's also a crappier experience (more steps to do the same thing), but they're not going to back to more buttons, because that would ruin margins.

Re:Here's a clue... (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853285)

Tesla are going to stick a 17 inch (!) tablet in the middle of their Model S. This is the most reckless sounding idea I've ever heard of. I assume Tesla haven't completely lost their minds and will put limits on what the tablet can do while the vehicle is in motion. But some functionality will have to remain - satnav, call handling, hands free, weather, radio, music etc. Packing so many distractions behind in a flat glass interface that can only be operated by looking directly at it is a recipe for disaster.

I have answers for them (1, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850981)

Cellphone Jammer enabled al any speed above 10 mph. washer fluid squirts in the eyes when they look down for more than 3 seconds. brakes jam on and airbag deploys at 5X normal force when they change lanes without looking and a motorcycle is detected next to the car.

Electrical jolt from the steering wheel and seat voltage increases with speed and proximity to the car in front of them. Tailgaiting gets you 160,000 volts at 400HZ AC.

Lastly built in taint puncher built into the seat what is triggered every time the mirror is used to check the face or makeup.

Re:I have answers for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851197)

Yeah, riiight, no idea what planet you live on (planet Bad Humor?), but
in reality that would land them in jail for physical assault, attempted murder or outright murder.

Also, in what backwards universe do you live, where punishment is still considered something that solves problems.
Hint: It only makes things worse. Everyone but small children has realized this a long time ago.

How about instead, you know, improve their mental capabilities so the can handle these situations or know not to do it because they can’t (yet). No, actually expecting any kind of learning from an American is a grave offence, extreme insult and of course completely unacceptable in the USA... right? The only people that it's legal to insult and treat like shit in the USA, is of course intelligent people. Ignorance and stupidity are the hallmarks of the USA today, riiight?

NO

Re:I have answers for them (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853795)

I recently figured out that a true self-driving car option(not the car, just the option) should be worth it at around $25k for the 'average' driver that commutes 1 hour a day, for 15k miles/year, that values not having to drive at $10/hour, and using an autodrive system that eliminates 90% of accidents.

Re:I have answers for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40855645)

as long as we let the mentally inept drive cars, maybe the threat of physical harm will make the complete idiots drive better?

Re:I have answers for them (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40855863)

Because the AARP and other groups whine like big babies when anyone tries to make drivers licenses harder to get and keep. Almost ALL people drive as if they are without punishment. I'm in MY car you cant get to me. My car, I get to run that red light... MY CAR I GET TO DRIVE FAST AND RISK YOUR LIFE YAAAAAGGGH!

And what nut thinks that you don't learn from negative reinforcement? Please go touch a hot stove and burn your hand, by your example children will love burning their hands because it encourages them to touch it more.

Re:I have answers for them (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851349)

I hate talking/texting and driving as much as the next guy, but I want my internet radio on my phone while I drive. I don't need to touch/look at it for that, and a cell jammer would stop that from being possible. Maybe if they can block the calls without blocking the 3G...hell, I'd have it on all the time with me, so I can use data but no annoying calls.

Re:I have answers for them (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40856063)

Here's why your answers are bunk:

1) Cell phone jammers are illegal. They will also prevent emergency personnel from getting the calls they need to get. Or do you think that emergency personnel shouldn't be able to drive?

2) Squirting washer fluid in the eyes? Really? So you advocate blinding them even longer while the car is moving? Brilliant idea there, dumbass.

3) Slam on the brakes and deploy the airbag? So now, not only does the guy behind them wreck, but you've possibly broken someone's neck.

4) Electrical shock? Really? So you propose the death sentence for those who tailgate? 160kV at 400Hz indeed...

5) Taint puncher? Really? So if someone looks into the mirror, you propose that they lose control of their vehicle for a much longer period of time, once again becoming a larger safety hazard than before?

You must remember, the vehicle is still moving and still on the road. When your "solution" causes more problems than the "problems" that it's trying to fix, then maybe your "solution" is nothing but bullshit.

Tor Discussion Forums! Screw the clear web!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851065)

There are two forums I visit frequently while using Tor. In fact, you must be using Tor to visit them directly:

http://clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion/ [clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion]
http://65bgvta7yos3sce5.onion/ [65bgvta7yos3sce5.onion]

Easy, encrypted, and often fascinating discussions.

Shelby Cobra (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851123)

They aught to put an original Shelby Cobra cockpit (or facimile) in this and sell it as the ultimate car racing game/simulator. All the Zuckerbergs of the world would lap it right up.

Re:Shelby Cobra (1)

davidoff404 (764733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851289)

Aught for naught.

Re:Shelby Cobra (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851373)

Yeah I meant ought... ought to have pressed preview first. dang.

Re:Shelby Cobra (1)

Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851425)

That was more or less my first thought. I'd pay real money to play Grand Theft Auto in this.

Watching from outside is even more fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851135)

It's amazing how much that dome sloshes around to simulate driving G-forces.

AC

Lol. the “only” one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851141)

Ford says it's the only automaker in the U.S. with a virtual reality simulator of this magnitude.

1. "in the US". Translation: Everyone outside has this since forever.
2. "of this magnitude". Translation: Everyone inside has one too, but 1 inch shorter because our cars are so huge.
;)

Not saying that's the case. It just highlights how much nonsense their statement is.

It'll be completely useless because... (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851227)

...their baseline will be someone that knows they're being tested in a distracted driving simulator. They sure as hell won't be texting while putting on makeup, eating a cheeseburger, reading the paper and watching tv like they normall do.

Re:It'll be completely useless because... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851367)

If you RTFA you would know that the participants have no idea they are in a motion simulator, and only know that they are testing a car in a dome-shaped room with a car in it. They don't get to see the crazy robot legs, as they enter from a closed-off jetway.

Re:It'll be completely useless because... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852193)

They still know they're testing a car though, why would they try and bring a cheeseburger with them or start trying to text. Demonstrating how stupid those things are is much about finding someone who belligerently believes they can, asking them to prove it, and watching them fail.

Re:It'll be completely useless because... (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853611)

I have failed many times at eating and driving - every time it's because I give priority to the driving. The results have meant that often I have to change, clean my car, and often buy more food and try again, or finish eating when I get to my destination. I have on more then one ocasion stuck myself with the straw or almost ate a napkin instead of a fry.

Re:It'll be completely useless because... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853799)

Solution: Test them for ~8 hours, and keep the simulator going while you hand them cheeseburgers/subs/drinks, etc...

Yes they will (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852121)

Because that's what they'll be instructed to do. The idea of this isn't to try and ferret out bad drivers, it is to see what can be done to make cars safer for bad drivers. Bad drivers are a fact of life, we use technology to try and help.

So Ford will do tests like "Please eat lunch while you do this simulation," or "We'll be sending you text messages to read and respond to." I suppose you could refuse to do as they ask but then they'll thank you for your time and get someone else.

The whole idea is to deliberately have people be distracted in various ways and see what things help them avoid problems.

nig6a (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851255)

InSt3ntions and

I'd love to see what the algorithm... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851281)

....that simulates arseholes looks like.

Darwinian statistic? (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852033)

To be a 'Darwinian statistic', wouldn't you have to somehow contribute to your own death in a stupid way. Is the author acknowledging that he is stupid enough that he would die if other people weren't constantly looking out for him?

Test track, not "text track" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852171)

Both the summary and the article have it wrong: VIRTTEX stands for "VIRtual Test Track EXperiment", according to media.ford.com.

They should teach students on these things (4, Insightful)

Beeftopia (1846720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852173)

With 30-thousand some traffic fatalities a year, it would be well worth it.

I mean, there are like 20-30 some common scenarios that kids could be faced with in the simulator. Experiences they could have without being actual near misses. Or hits, like the unfortunates who don't make it, or are maimed. You get your driver's test after you've completed all the scenarios and have done actual driving time.

Experienced drivers are better because of their experience and near misses over the years.

It would save a lot of lives.

Re:They should teach students on these things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853293)

With 30-thousand some traffic fatalities a year, it would be well worth it.

Wow. that's like ten 911's every year. Glad to see we got our priorities right.

Better simulators exist. They're huge. (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852717)

Here's the National Advanced Driving Simulator, [uiowa.edu] which is in Iowa. This not only has a Stewart platform, the Stewart Platform is mounted on an X-Y table about 60 feet square. Toyota has an even bigger one with over 100 feet of linear travel.

The need for huge linear travel comes from the need to simulate the feeling of a hard stop. To some extent, deceleration can be simulated with tilt. But at the end of a stop, deceleration suddenly ceases without a change in attitude. You can't simulate that with a Stewart platform. If you want to test people's behavior during hard braking, you need a huge simulator.

Seeing stars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853157)

When you crash in a virtual text track experiment cockpit simulator you don't see stars... you see asterisks.

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