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University of Iowa News Release

March 8, 2004

Driving Simulator Awarded $403,970 Older Driver Research Contract

The National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) at the University of Iowa has received a $403,970 contract from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to collaborate with NHTSA'S Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) in preparation for older driver research using the NADS.

The project will be divided into two tasks: first, preliminary NADS basic validation studies in support of older driver research and second, older driver validation.

Since older drivers tend to be less familiar with and less receptive to technology, it is important to ensure that older drivers will drive in the simulated environment of the NADS as they do in the real world. The validation efforts will seek to ensure that driving performance and behavior data collected on the NADS are comparable to those that may be obtained through on-road studies.

"We will be testing drivers in the NADS as well as on a test course and on surrounding roadways in order to compare vehicle handling and driver behavior,"
said Ginger Watson, principal investigator. "This study will be interesting because it allows us to make a connection between simulation and the real world. It will also be interesting for test participants to see what we do and various test methods such as real and simulated vehicles."

Yiannis Papelis is the NADS co-principal investigator. NHTSA's co-principal investigators on the project are Riley Garrott and Julie Barker.

Work on the project began in early 2004. Older drivers age 50 and above who live near the NADS and who would like to participate in a NADS study are asked to call the NADS hot line at 319-335-4719 or register online at Women of this age group are specifically encouraged to apply.

The NADS is the largest and most sophisticated research-oriented driving simulator in the world. It was built to conduct research that will ultimately lead to reductions in the number of traffic-related deaths, injuries and incidents of property loss on the nation's highways. The NADS, located at the University of Iowa's Oakdale Research Park, is a national shared-use facility owned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation and operated by the University of Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 301, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,