By: Eli Freund, Editorial Communications Manager, UConn School of Engineering
Hidden in a tucked-away side room in the Longley Building is a dark and cold space housing a full-sized 2014 Ford Fusion. Surrounding the car are six screens projecting a cityscape, not unlike the downtowns of the 169 towns and cities spread across Connecticut.
While the car looks like a fully-functioning automobile, the intention of the car is not for transportation, but simulation.
More specifically, the Fusion is a full-sized driving simulator, transporting the user into an experience mirroring the force felt during acceleration and stopping—the car is equipped with actuators located under the car which provides the sensation of movement —and providing an environment in which Dr. Eric Jackson, associate research professor and director of the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center, and his team, can study new vehicle technology and human driving behavior in a safe, simulated way.