Display / Projection
The following hardware list describes your output options for displaying the driving simulation. The decision for a suitable setup depends on the type of task, room restrictions, and your budget.
OpenDS can be displayed on any regular computer monitor. Additionally, you can connect multiple adjacent monitors to a multi-monitor setup.
Projectors and Projection Screens
OpenDS is often used in conjunction with projectors and projection screens. Like with the multi-monitor setup, you can distribute the image over several projectors to form a wide image output. This is particularly useful with curved projection screens. In theory, OpenDS can be configured to project up to 360 degrees. However, you will need a powerful graphic card that supports a sufficient number of display outputs. In our setups we often use three projectors covering 40 degrees each which results in a total 120 degrees field of view. In order to compensate for the bend of the curved screen surface, additional geometry correction software is needed. For this purpose, we recommend ImmersaView Warp.
Projection screens are also a good option when used in combination with real (stationary) vehicles. One special option that can be employed to save space in this case is to use a wide-angle projector to reverse-project directly onto a sheet attached to the windshield.
Oculus Rift DK2
Supported since OpenDS 3.0 under Windows 7 >
The Oculus Rift DK2 is a set of VR glasses which provides the largest possible viewing freedom in all directions that cannot be easily replicated by other means. This output device is particularly suitable to demonstrate immersive city environments. Beginning from OpenDS 3.0 Oculus Rift will be supported.
Additionally, with VR glasses it will be possible to model and show the interior of the car as well. The hardware steering wheel is then placed on a position corresponding to the virtual steering wheel.
Due to the modularity of OpenDS, you can also connect your own VR visualization system, as several of our customers have already done successfully.
Steering / Input
You will appreciate the flexible means that steering controls can be connected to OpenDS. Currently, OpenDS allows the steering angle and acceleration to be changed, as well as a braking force to be applied.
As a fallback or for testing, the OpenDS can be controlled via a standard keyboard. However, since a keyboard does not support gradual button presses, this is not suitable for most experiments or demonstrations.
There are numerous high quality steering wheels sold as gaming devices available which are a good choice for most experiments. You should look out for products that also support a gas and brake pedal in order to make full use of OpenDS driving tasks such as the ConTRe Task. In our lab we have successfully used the Logitech Driving Force GT steering wheel, but there are also other viable alternatives.
At this time, OpenDS does not utilize the force feedback feature that some game controllers offer, but we plan to add this in the future.
Connecting to Vehicles
For the most realistic driving experience, a real vehicle can be placed in front of a projection screen. To send the steering commands from the car to the simulator, OpenDS provides a CAN-bus interface. The CAN bus is the bus system used in almost all newer vehicles to exchange onboard commands and send status updates. However, each implementation is different, so you may have to adapt the module accordingly. Also, the method of physically connecting to the car differs and for some cars requires more effort.
Our lab has successfully integrated the Smart Fortwo car and we provide the corresponding connector module as part of OpenDS. The physical connection to the car can be achieved via the OBD bus and a CAN-USB-adaptor. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about how to realize this.
We now support motion platforms as well. Integrated and tested: Atomic Motion Systems Symphinity.