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New research on simulation with drivers in self-driving cars

Even if a vehicle is self-driving, the driver needs to stay alert. With help from new research from Halmstad University it becomes easier to see how people react on situations when self-driving vehicles drives near one another, so-called platooning.

Datorskärm med körsimulator, skrivbord, ratt

The computer simulation Maytheewat Aramrattana works on consists of software run on two computers: One for running the driving simulation software, and the other for running traffic and network simulation.

– Even though a vehicle is self-driving, the driver has to stay alert. Therefore human behaviour and reactions are important to study. And even if the driver does stay alert, he or she might not be able to handle a given situation, and what happens then? says Maytheewat Aramrattana, PhD-student in computer engineering at Halmstad University, who is researching the simulation of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS).

Black and white illustration

Photo album about Connected and Automated transport systems.

Hot area

Automated, self-driving, vehicles that talk to each other in order to solve conflicts in traffic – that people normally solves – is a hot area of research. And it is something all large car manufacturers are working with. The vehicles are able to exchange information and cooperate with each other and with road infrastructures, since the systems are “connected” and can talk to each other via wireless communication networks. So, if a red traffic light appears, or an elk runs out in front of the truck, all the trucks in the platoon will brake appropriately.

Simulators are important as they make it easier and cheaper to develop vehicles.

– The question is, how to create a simulation environment for platooning? Traffic simulators and network simulators are common. But driving simulators in the context of cooperative and intelligent transport systems, which makes decisions on their own, are not so common.

Driver out of the loop

And what happens when the driver is resting or out of the loop, and the communications between the vehicles or with the GPS fails? This can also be tested in this simulator.

– There could for example be an instruction to the vehicle, in case of disruptions, to immediately increase the safety gap to the next vehicle.

Depending on manufacturers and functions in the vehicle, vehicles will react in different ways. In the worst case scenario, it is crucial that the vehicle is designed to consider and handle this risk.

– The question is also if the design is good enough to avoid a collision. In the event of a collision, how bad will it be and how much risk does it mean to the driver?

Another aspect to be tested in the simulator is how to make sure that different brands of vehicles cooperate with each other. Will, for example, a Volvo platoon well with a Mercedes or Toyota truck?

New knowledge

The fact that this simulation tool consists of information about traffic, communication networks and also the human driver leads to even more new knowledge:

– The simulation framework can be used for demonstration purposes, to show what it looks like to be in a vehicle operating in C-ITS. It can also be used to perform studies on driver behaviour and how the driver perceives and accepts the automated systems while sitting in the driver’s seat.



Maytheewat is a PhD student within Embedded and Intelligent Systems Industrial Graduate School (EISIGS) at the School of Information Technology at Halmstad University. PhD students within EISIGS conduct their research both at a company and at Halmstad University. Maytheewat Aramrattana is connected to VTI, Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut.external link, opens in new window

Research at Halmstad University is often conducted in close collaboration with the industry. Many research projects at the School of Information Technology focus on intelligent vehicles and platooning.

Maytheewat Aramrattana

Maytheewat Aramrattana defended his licentiate thesis “Modelling and Simulation for Evaluation of Cooperative Intelligent Transport System Functions” on September 27 2016. Read the thesis in DiVAexternal link, opens in new window

Won communication challenge

Maytheewat Aramrattana was voted the winner of the ”Communication Challenge – Tell the world!”, which took place during the ITRL Conference on Integrated Transport 2016 – Connected & Automated Transport Systems. Researchers were encouraged to present their work in other ways than a poster.

Maytheewat Aramrattana created the Facebook page C-ITS Simulation with a video (see embedded clip) and a photo albumexternal link, opens in new window about Connected and Automated transport systems.

Updated 2016-12-12