SimDriver: Autonomous Vehicle Control Solution


A Component of SimCreator DX

SimDriver is an autonomous vehicle control solution that allows for the evaluation of human interaction with automated vehicles in both city and freeway driving environments. SimDriver enhances the understanding of this relationship which will be key to ensuring safe autonomous vehicles. Because human factors play a key role in the development of an autonomous technology, the analysis derived from human factors research within a simulation system is crucial to the successful engineering and application of ADAS or fully automated driving.

SimDriver provides the technology required to accurately measure driver behavior, with a focus on developing a highly accurate driver model for the purposes of improving self-driving cars and other ADAS or connected vehicle technology. One important aspect of behavior behind the wheel of a self-driving car is driver attentiveness. Because it may become necessary for a human to take manual control of the vehicle in some scenarios, having an accurate model of human attentiveness or alertness can be crucial to implementing safety features into autonomous vehicle systems. SimDriver provides a highly advanced way to measure attentiveness, as well as a number of other variables that play a crucial role in human factors research.

Simulator Features

A main concern surrounding the use of autonomous vehicles is that it leads to disengaged and unfocused drivers who are unprepared to take control of the vehicle when necessary. SimDriver is designed to help you create scenarios that test a driver’s ability to take manual control of an autonomous vehicle at a moment’s notice.

SimDriver Interface

Design Applications

When the simulation runs, the SimDriver code is loaded, but the vehicle is typically still under manual control. The autonomous driving mode becomes engaged through the cruise control button on the steering wheel or another button of your choice. You can disengage the autonomous mode at any time during the simulation and regain control of the steering wheel and accelerator/brake pedal.

Autonomous Mode

Once autonomous mode is engaged, the vehicle is controlled through the SimDriver JavaScript and the vehicle stops accepting input from the driver. The SimDriver JavaScript allows a range of conditions to be controlled by the SimVista scenario system as part of a complete automated scenario. SimDriver will keep the vehicle on the road and maintain a specified headway distance or desired velocity. More specifically, once engaged, autonomous control will:

  • Drive the car down the center of the current lane.
  • Control the lateral position of the car so that the car remains within the lane’s boundaries.
  • Control the speed of the car up to the user-defined speed limit (if set) or the road’s maximum legal speed limit.
  • Maintain a configurable headway between the car and the vehicle ahead.
  • Stop a configurable distance from stationary vehicles and obstacles.
  • Remain in the current lane at all times, traversing through controlled or uncontrolled intersections as necessary.
  • If the current lane comes to an end, SimDriver will attempt to merge onto a new lane.


  • Test autonomous vehicle programming before creating costly prototypes.
  • Evaluate human interaction with autonomous vehicles.
  • Test algorithms used in the programming of the autonomous vehicle

SimDriver Simulations

Simulations run through SimDriver can offer data that shows why drivers become distracted and provide insight into how to smoothly re-engage the task of driving. SimDriver’s ability to run code through a simulator is a considerably more cost effective and safer alternative than an expensive prototype and provides for more timely evaluations of the algorithms used. SimDriver has been implemented using JavaScript so researchers can modify both parameters and algorithms using their existing skill set with the SimVista scenario system.

Ultimately, the goal of SimDriver is to improve transportation safety. The content and model development features of the software focus on the human factors behind vehicle safety by carefully measuring behavior. Whether the output of your research is intended for academic publication or to assist in the development of a self-driving vehicle for an automotive manufacturer, SimDriver provides you with the tools you need for recording and processing human behavior data and transforming it into in a highly advanced, accurate model.

Realtime Technologies is committed to offering high-fidelity simulation systems that deliver a world-class, state-of-the-art experience within the simulator. As a result, physiological and psychological factors translate from the laboratory to the field. Our software and hardware have the ability assist in the development of sophisticated models, and enable you to utilize simulation as a core method of your human factors analysis.

Learn more about SimDriver

SimDriver is an autonomous vehicle control solution that allows for the evaluation of human interaction with automated vehicles in both city and freeway driving environments. SimDriver enhances the understanding of this relationship which will be key to ensuring safe autonomous vehicles.

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The realism you feel from driving in the simulator is not only from the visual systems but also from the feedback that you get from the steering wheel. The vehicle dynamics are modeled very accurately. It really does feel like it is state-of-the-art technology.

Jason Rogers, University of Florida, Computer Applications Coordinator

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