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18 Oct 2012

New Driving Simulator to Advance Honda's Research into Driver Distraction, Driver Behavior and Vehicle Safety

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Honda R&D Americas, Inc. today joined with officials from The Ohio State University in commissioning the University's new Driving Simulator Laboratory, designed to support advanced research into issues of driver distraction and other factors impacting driver behavior and road safety.

The new laboratory was co-developed by Honda R&D Americas and The Ohio State University Office of Research and was funded in part by Honda R&D Americas, which will conduct research at the facility.

"This new simulator will help us further strengthen our local research capabilities to gain an even deeper understanding of our customers and to advance our ability to create even more safe, smart and intuitive Honda and Acura products," said Frank Paluch, senior vice president of Honda R&D America's Inc., located in nearby Raymond, Ohio. "The co-development of this new facility by Honda R&D and the University's Office of Research expands our partnership in new and important ways. Moreover, it presents both the University and Honda with the chance to conduct leading-edge research into the psychological components of the driving experience and its impact on issues such as driver distraction and overall vehicle safety."

The facility's main simulator features a full cab mounted to a six-degrees-of-freedom motion platform, and a 240-degree wrap-around projection screen with high-resolution, edge-blended visuals designed to simulate a wide variety of driving situations with a high degree of realism. A second simulator is optimized for the testing of production vehicles.

The new laboratory is designed to enable next-generation research into driver behavior. Biometric sensors measure factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, eye movement and galvanic skin response, along with respiration, heart and blink rates, allowing Honda researchers to gauge the psychological and physiological state of the driver in varying conditions.

"This is something of a different approach to understanding, at a deeper level, the driver's state and how people interact with the vehicle," said Steven Feit, chief engineer at Honda R&D Americas, who led Honda's effort in the development of the laboratory. "We are looking at factors beyond the conventional aspects of the driver-vehicle interface to truly understand the psychological and cognitive aspects of driver behavior." 

About the Honda-OSU Partnership

Honda's partnership with The Ohio State University encompasses a broad range of initiatives between Honda's Ohio-based R&D and manufacturing operations and the University. A key aspect of the partnership is a more-than- $40 million endowment generated through the operation of the Transportation Research Center that generates approximately $2.3 million in funding each year for the University.

One area of collaboration is the Honda/OSU Mobility Innovation Exchange (MIX), a unique collaborative research initiative between Honda R&D Americas, Inc. and the University. Established in 2010 and housed in the University's College of Engineering, MIX brings together Honda researchers and OSU faculty and students in mechanical, materials and other engineering disciplines.  

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