- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
Happening right now out in Cologne, Germany is Gamescom, the world’s largest trade fair and event for video games and entertainment. And with all the passionate automotive enthusiasts in Germany, it’s no surprise that Sony wanted to make a statement in their booth by teaming up with Audi to show off a whole new way to play Gran Turismo 5. Custom built by quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm, the PlayStation Racing Simulator that’s currently setup at the booth is a full-on carbon-black Audi R8 LMS imitation race car.
Carmakers put their vehicles through the most extreme environments available – Death Valley, the Arctic Circle, and the Nurburgring. But let’s face it – most cars will never be used in these types of driving conditions – wouldn’t it be more productive to see how they fare in the real world? And that’s just what Mercedes-Benz did… in a way. They’ve built a new simulator, and it’s so much more than a screen and a wheel.
Lexus‘ giant egg-like monolith isn’t some weird monument to quality control or reduced NVH. The big white orb is actually a very advanced driving simulator, complete with an LS460 that can rotate 360 degrees. Giant screens can simulate a wide variety of conditions so Lexus test drivers can perform tests in a safe environment with no physical consequences.
Ferrari has announced a virtual racing simulator, titled Ferrari Virtual Academy, that allows any enthusiast to discover what it’s like behind the wheel of a Ferrari F10 single-seat F1 car. And apparently it’s the only PC simulator to do this. Best of all, it’s available for a really cheap price, $19. That gets you access to the Fiorano Circuit. And for another $12.75 you can get access to the Mugello and Nürburgring circuits.
So you’ve spent a few hundred bucks and got yourself a driving simulator with a Sparco racing seat and Fanatec’s steering wheel, shifter and pedal combo. And as great as it is, it just doesn’t simulate the coolest part of racing: the actual movement and shifting of your body with plenty of actual force pushing against your organs. Apparently a few engineers out at the Max Planck Institute of Biological Cybernetics (zzz…) had the same problem and decided to take things to a whole new level – literally.
Imagine taking your driving simulator way up in the air and attaching it to a gigantic robotic arm. Wait, what? Are we dreaming? Are we nuts? Nope, that’s exactly what is staring back at us in this video. These crazy engineers created what they call a CyberMotion Simulator that’s based on a Kuka KR500 6 axis robot. The simulation and control is courtesy of Matlab and Simulink while the seat is a fancy Recaro. Hook up a curved video projector and a force-feedback steering wheel and you have a whole lot of fun.
This lucky tester got to buckle himself in and go behind the wheel of a virtual Ferrari F2007 F1 race car to tackle the famed race track at Monza, Italy. The Kuka KR500 robotic arm is programmed to toss the driver around as he pilots the virtual race car around the track, simulating every bit of force that an F1 driver succumbs to. Jealous yet? You will be after you watch the video, that is if you really think you could stomach it all.