According to estimates in global traffic, about 1.3 million people die from car accidents each year. 35,000 people die from collisions every year in the US alone. With new technology to make cars and the roads safer, car companies have been creating cars with new methods that make their cars safer. Automation is making vehicles more advanced and secure. Everything from driver monitoring technology to VR are being used to innovate and engineer new technologies that manufacture safer cars.

Volvo has been known for the safety of their cars for years. They have had a top safety record that continues today with new technology. Volvo engineers have developed new technology they are calling the "ultimate driving simulator." It is a lot like a video game, but the Swedish automakers insist that wasn't created to indulge their desire to play games. They created this virtual reality-influenced simulator they are calling "mixed-reality" and it is groundbreaking. The aim of the technology is to make strides in the safety of autonomous driving technology.

What is the Ultimate Driving Simulator?

The setup is a driving simulator with a moving seat, a steering wheel that has haptic feedback, and a VR headset. While it sounds like it would make any game-lover envious, Volvo's simulator takes it to a whole other level. According to Volvo engineers, there is little difference between reality and simulation. This is why it was created not to play video games, but to manufacture safer cars.

Using cutting-edge technology from the leading real-time 3D development platform called Unity with the Finnish virtual and mixed reality company Varjo, Volvo was able to create this simulation. What is even more amazing than its accuracy is that the simulation includes a real car driving on a real road. Combining high-definition 3D graphics and augmented reality, the simulation uses a full-body suit from Tesla that provides haptic feedback from a virtualized world that monitors bodily reactions.

How Will the Simulator Make Safer Cars?

According to the road traffic accident claims experts McGinley Solicitors, the combination of software and hardware allows Volvo engineers to simulate traffic scenarios on a test track, all in safety. This provides the ability for endless simulations. By using this technology, engineers can gain insight into the interactions between the car and people to develop safer cars with driver assistance and automation features.

Car testers are then exposed to imaginative safety and driver assistance features they may not have known about, as well as autonomous driver interfaces. It can also provide the ability to imagine future car models and other scenarios. With the ability to simulate with a real car to see how it responds in real-time. Every test session is customizable to a specific function. The possibilities are endless.

Announcing the New Technology

In an event that was live-streamed hosted by a team of innovation experts, Volvo announced their simulation. The company announced last year that they would team with Varjo to create a real car that could be controlled with a "mixed-reality" headset. This program has been expanded to include the collaboration with Unity and the full-body haptic suit from Tesla. While some could see that Volvo was creating new technologies to augment their car's safety, as the company develops safety systems with collision-avoiding technologies, testing is crucial. The simulator provides the ability to continuously test and change the testing as they go along. It provides an in-the-moment look at how the engineers can change the dynamics and technology of their vehicles. This virtual reality technology allows for safe testing in an authentic environment without having to build physical prototypes or use it to test complex traffic situations.

This simulation technology could change the game in car engineering. Along with driver monitoring systems (DMS) and other automation features, cars are becoming safer. There is no telling where this will take us, but with so many deaths each year to car crashes something needs to change. Volvo and other car companies are utilizing brand new technologies to engineer new kinds of transportation systems in their vehicles. Volvo has always pushed for safety measures, but they are not the only ones. Most automakers are taking huge strides towards creating safer roads, less traffic, and more innovative cars.

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