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Facilities and Equipment

Drive-in, Driver-in-the-loop, multi-axis driving simulator (3xD)

NAIC will house the world's first immersive, simulated environment for smart and connected vehicles which includes full emulation of wireless communications - the simulator will be a centrepiece as part of NAIC's Virtual Reality centre. It will provide a unique platform for innovation and technology creation. The simulator will be a key facility for researchers working on Autonomous, Smart and Connected Vehicles.

£3.2m capital funding for the simulator is provided from the EPSRC's Robotics and Automation Systems call. The simulator project will be installed in two phases:

  • Phase One (2015) - simulator to be installed at the International Manufacturing Centre with some drive-in HiL interaction and high definition environment simulation
  • Phase Two (2017) - Upgraded facility within the National Automotive Innovation Centre including full interaction and interoperability

The simulator environment will be adaptive and enable true-to-life evaluation incorporating user, systems and cyber-physical understanding:

  • Vehicle agnostic, adaptive system
  • Multi-sensory environment enhanced with high definition visualisation and 3D surround sound
  • Driver eye tracking technology
  • Infotainment and communication simulation
  • High performance computing and data storage
  • Remote sensing technologies
Simulator Architecture

The scalable, configurable collaborative research platform will significantly advance the creation and usability of autonomous systems and provides the automotive industry with cutting edge facilities for virtual whole system level design, validation, verification and testing for sensors, new technology and system integration.

A unique feature of the NAIC simulator will be the ability to drive in any vehicle (in production or prototype), link it up through an umbilical connection and drive it through the simulated environment to obtain valuable data for system verification within a highly controlled and safe environment.


  • 360o cylindrical screen with high definition projection
  • Infotainment hardware-in-the-loop to emulate complex external signal environment, e.g. GPS, 3G/4G, AM/FM, DAB, WLAN, RDS
  • LIDAR scanned visualisation of real world driving routes within local area
  • 'Drive in' any vehicle make or model (product or prototype) and quickly link to adaptive simulator systems
  • Control systems Hardware-in-the-Loop system to mimic real world operation and control vehicle signals and sensors to enable real time modification
  • Desktop version of the full driving simulator enables two ‘drivers’ to interact within the same simulated environment

Find out more about our Intelligent Vehicles Research here.