CRC's customized driving simulator (the CRCDS) is used to evaluate the effects of age, trauma, neurologic disease, alcohol
and fatigue on driving performance. The CRCDS is also designed to study the effects of a wide variety of drugs on driving
abilities in both normal and patient populations. The CRCDS consists of three networked personal computers, high fidelity
driving controls, and use of multiple, linked video monitors to provide a wide field of view to maximize subject immersion
and realism. The driving scenarios developed for the CRCDS were designed to assess a range of psychomotor, divided attention
and cognitive tasks involved in driving.
The simulator utilizes advanced three-dimensional (3D) graphics to generate realistic representations of various driving environments. The visual environment includes the vehicle dashboard, roadway, horizon, secondary task displays, intersections, traffic control devices and interacting traffic.
Auditory feedback is provided for engine speed, acceleration limits, and for indication of excessive cornering speed, or excessive deceleration when braking.
Steering sensitivity is adjusted as a function of vehicle speed.
The CRCDS provides automated measurements of psychomotor functioning, divided attention, situational awareness and other cognitive behaviors. CRC has developed equivalent versions of various driving simulation tasks (scenarios) that allow for re-testing while minimizing practice effects. Several CRCDS scenarios have proven to be highly sensitive to both therapeutic and adverse drug effects.