The research in this theme aimed to develop a modular software and hardware environment to support virtual vehicle prototyping, where performance characteristics and the ergonomic interfaces between the vehicle and its occupants can be evaluated at an early stage in the design cycle. Underpinned by research into perception in a virtual environment and the development of standards to maximise task-specific simulator functionality, the corresponding validity of the simulator platform to support benchmarking and evaluation was assessed in a three-staged work programme: foundation, specific evaluation test-cases and implications for future simulator design. By linking simulation applications at the University of Leeds and computer aided engineering in JLR in two specific test-cases, the capability for coherent and modular driving simulation design to support efficient and cost-effective vehicle technology benchmarking has been assessed. Such assessments included HMI aspects and vehicle dynamics, each underpinned by robust evaluations of simulator validity in each test-case.  One of the key theme outcomes was a so-called 'functionality matrix' defining what functionality a driving simulator should have (spanning a number of specifying characteristics) for a wide spectrum of vehicle and driver assessments.

 As part of the research work the team at Leeds recreated the JLR test track at Gaydon (UK) in their driving simulator and used this virtual environment to undertake a range of testing.  A similar recreation of JLR's winter testing facilities in Sweden was also established to facilitate testing on low-friction surfaces.

As part of the research work the team at Leeds recreated the JLR test track at Gaydon (UK) in their driving simulator and used this virtual environment to undertake a range of testing.  A similar recreation of JLR's winter testing facilities in Sweden was also established to facilitate testing on low-friction surfaces.