CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
UI to break ground Oct. 24 for world's most advanced simulator
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa's 12:45 p.m., Friday, Oct.
24, 1997 groundbreaking ceremony for the National Advanced Driving Simulator
(NADS) project at the UI's Oakdale Research Park means that, after years
of planning, the world's most advanced driving simulator -- and the many
benefits it is expected to attract -- is only about 18 months from completion.
Those scheduled to speak at the ceremony are: Leodis Davis, president
of the UI Research Park Corporation; UI President Mary Sue Coleman; Owen
Newlin, president of the State Board of Regents; Donald C. Bischoff, executive
director, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); David
J. Skorton, UI vice president for research; Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Edward
J. Haug, UI professor of engineering and NADS director; and Alexander Schwarzkopf
of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
NHTSA and the University of Iowa developed the NADS as a cooperative
venture dedicated to improved highway safety through the study of driver
behavior, motor vehicle performance and the highway environment. In addition
to the NADS, the project will include the creation and operation of a new
NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for virtual
proving ground simulation with U.S. industry. The first example of such
industry cooperation is a new three-year sponsorship of a major research
and development effort with the NADS by John Deere Product Engineering
Center in Waterloo. (See accompanying news release.)
According to project director and principal investigator Edward J. Haug,
the approximately $45 million project will solidify the university's stature
as a leading research institution in transportation systems and vehicle
design when it opens for business in the spring of 1999.
"The NADS will be the most advanced system of its kind in the world,
by far," Haug said. "Daimler Benz of Berlin, Germany recently
updated its simulator, currently the most advanced, but the NADS will be
far ahead of it and any other in existence. The goal of the project is
to achieve fundamental improvements in highway safety, transportation efficiency,
and international competitiveness of U.S. vehicle manufacturers."
He added that completion of the NADS, together with formation of a new
NSF Center for Virtual Proving Ground Simulation, will make the University
competitive for research funding in fields such as highway safety, intelligent
transportation systems, virtual prototyping for vehicle development, and
a variety of health and human sciences. Examples of some of the many U.S.
organizations and companies that may use the NADS include:
* U.S. Department of Transportation, for setting standards for new
vehicles and highways.
* Civilian and military auto and truck manufacturers, for advanced
* Auto and truck component suppliers, to test and optimize their products
by using the latest models of their clients' vehicles.
* Trucking companies, public safety agencies and the military, to train
* Commercial simulator developers, to design low and moderate cost
driving simulators to meet the needs of a growing international market.
According to Haug, test drivers will find the sensory environment offered
by NADS a nearly exact copy of "real world" driving. Because
the NADS can duplicate the characteristics of potential new vehicles without
the need to actually construct those vehicles, time and effort can be saved
in designing safer and more efficient highways and vehicles.
Currently, the UI College of Engineering's Center for Computer-Aided
Design (CCAD) operates the most advanced driving simulator in the United
States, the Iowa Driving Simulator (IDS). Built as a pre-cursor to NADS
in 1991 and completed in its present configuration in 1994, it is valued
at about $13 million, and is the second-most advanced ground-based driving
simulator in the world, after the Daimler-Benz simulator. A dome, holding
a fully functional car cab, sits atop a large hexapod-shaped motion system
that moves as drivers maneuver through computer-generated terrain. The
roadway and terrain are projected around drivers inside the dome, giving
them the feeling that they are part of the environment.
Current IDS research areas are: safety evaluation and highway design,
including the study of human factors in crash avoidance; medical influences
on driving, studying the driving abilities of people with Alzheimer's disease
and those who have had eye surgery; and designing, testing and evaluating
new vehicle safety technologies.
The NADS will be similar to the IDS, but will offer far more realistic
motion and faster and more realistic computer images than those of the
Iowa Driving Simulator, as well as more realistic physical and audio feedback
in response to driver commands.
The approximate $45 million valuation for the NADS includes about $34
from the federal government, $5.7 million in building funds from the Iowa
state legislature, University of Iowa-developed software appraised by the
General Accounting Office at more than $5 million and the invaluable effort
of CCAD and other College of Engineering faculty and staff.
University officials acknowledged that the NADS would not have been
financially possible without the bi-partisan support of Iowa's Congressional
Delegation, led by Harkin.
The UI's Oakdale Research Park administrators said that the NADS is
a very important part of the park's development. In 1990, the UI set a
goal to locate UI "anchor" laboratories at Oakdale in four selected
areas where UI research strengths could be coupled with off-campus interests.
The target areas chosen included industrial biotechnology, pharmaceutical
development, human health and medicine, and simulation of complex systems.
Three of these four anchor facilities are already operational at Oakdale:
The laboratories for the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing, the
Center for Advanced Drug Development, and the Oakdale College of Medicine
laboratories all have been created since 1990.
"Construction of the NADs will complete the vision that the University
articulated nearly eight years ago to establish these centers at Oakdale,"
said Bruce Wheaton, director of the UI Oakdale Research Park."
NADS FACT SHEET AND TIMELINE
WHAT, WHERE and WHEN: The National Advanced Driving Simulator
(NADS) project, to be completed by spring, 1999 at the University of Iowa's
Oakdale Research Park, will be the world's most advanced driving test facility,
similar to flight simulators used by NASA and the U.S. Air Force, to help
researchers to build safer and more efficient highways and vehicles without
the need to construct expensive prototypes.
WHY and HOW: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) and the University of Iowa developed the NADS as a cooperative
venture dedicated to improved highway safety through the study of driver
behavior, motor vehicle performance and the highway environment. The approximate
$45 million valuation for the NADS includes about $34 from the federal
government, $5.7 million in building funds from the Iowa state legislature
and University of Iowa-developed software appraised by the General Accounting
Office at more than $5 million.
1992 * NHTSA selects the University of Iowa as the site for the
NADS, following a nationwide NHTSA and National Science Foundation competition.
1996 * NHTSA awards a $34 million contract to TRW Inc. to build
NADS hardware, including motion, audiovisual, and computer subsystems.
1996 * A joint U.S. House-Senate Transportation Appropriations
conference committee finalizes a $14 million appropriation for the project.
1996 * Regents approve design for 38,000-square-foot NADS building.
October 1997 * NADS groundbreaking ceremony at Oakdale Research
October 1998 * Building completed and begins to receive equipment.
April 1999 * NADS completed and ready for use.