Simulators in transport and road safety research highlighted in CCG

The Centro de Computação Gráfica (CCG) held a Think Tank and Networking session, dedicated to the use of simulators in transport research and road safety, on June 26, at its facilities.

This session brought together 50 representatives from a variety of institutions, from public bodies to private companies, from municipalities to companies in the automotive, infrastructure and systems industries.

In the morning, presentations took place in the CCG’s auditorium, with a focus on practical cases of use of simulators in the road domain.

Carlos Silva, development coordinator of the D.I.A. PIU – Perception, Interaction, and Usability – of the CCG, started the event with the presentation of PIU and its varied work in the field of road safety research: in the automotive sector (HMI Excel, Innovcar), acoustics and road noise (Noiseless) and in the field of new sensory modalities (Product In Touch), not to mention pedestrian safety (AnPeB), ergonomics (ISO/TC22/SC39 – Ergonomics in Road Vehicles) and 5G communication (5G-MOBIX).

Susana Costa, researcher at the Algoritmi Center and a professor at the University of Minho, spoke about the safety and trust problems that arise in autonomous driving, especially in the higher levels of automation (3, 4 and 5 – SAE Taxonomy), reflecting on what the car manufacturers need to do in terms of research and development to increase trust in these vehicles.

Elisabete Freitas, a professor at the University of Minho and coordinator of the AnPeB project, spoke about the need to improve the safety and protection of pedestrians on the roads. This AnPeB project aims to develop new and better models to describe the interaction between pedestrians and vehicles in non-flagged passages using a pedestrian simulator, installed in the CCG.

With this simulator, presented at this event, it is possible to study the behavior of pedestrians without compromising the safety of the participants. Another advantage of using virtual environments is greater control over experimental conditions and tasks.

In the afternoon there were visits to the autonomous driving and pedestrians safety simulators installed in the CCG (Bosch Room and CAVE), providing various moments of interaction to the participants of the event.

There was also a very detailed debate on the role that simulators can play in road management and on the direction that autonomous driving can follow. Emanuel Sousa, a researcher at the CCG, led the debate with researchers and professors Nelson Costa and Elisabete Freitas of the University of Minho and with all those present in the auditorium who wanted to give their opinion and put their questions to the experts.

The advantages and limitations of using simulators, confidence/distrust in autonomous driving, and how simulators can help dispel such mistrust have been discussed.

There was the talk of the need to create standards in this area across all car manufacturers, as well as to update national legislation. The role of the different actors (local authorities, automobile industry, research centers, legislators, etc.) was also considered in the development of autonomous driving.

To close the event, a networking session was held, promoting contact between all the participants.

This action has the co-financing of the Operational Program Norte2020, and European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund, in the context of actions Transfer of Scientific and Technological Knowledge of the CCG.