COLUMBUS, OH -- Honda R&D Americas on Oct. 18 joined Ohio State University officials to commission the university’s new Driving Simulator Laboratory, designed to support research into driver distraction and other factors impacting road safety.

The new laboratory was co-developed by Honda R&D Americas and the Ohio State University Office of Research. Honda R&D Americas, which partially funded the lab, will conduct research at the facility.

"This new simulator will help us further strengthen our local research capabilities to gain an even deeper understanding of our customers and to advance our ability to create even more safe, smart and intuitive Honda and Acura products," said Frank Paluch, senior vice president of Honda R&D Americas Inc., located in nearby Raymond, Ohio. 

Ohio State University's new Driving Simulator Laboratory

Ohio State University's new Driving Simulator Laboratory

Both Ohio State and Honda will conduct research into the psychological components of the driving experience and its impact on issues such as driver distraction and overall vehicle safety, Paluch added.

The facility's main simulator features a full cab mounted to a six-degrees-of-freedom motion platform, and a 240-degree wrap-around projection screen with high-resolution, edge-blended visuals designed to simulate a wide variety of driving situations with a high degree of realism. A second simulator is optimized for the testing of production vehicles.

The new laboratory is designed to enable advanced research into driver behavior. Biometric sensors measure factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, eye movement and galvanic skin response, along with respiration and heart and blink rates. As a result, Honda researchers can gauge the psychological and physiological state of the driver in varying conditions.

"This is something of a different approach to understanding, at a deeper level, the driver's state and how people interact with the vehicle," said Steven Feit, chief engineer at Honda R&D Americas, who led Honda's effort in the development of the laboratory. "We are looking at factors beyond the conventional aspects of the driver-vehicle interface to truly understand the psychological and cognitive aspects of driver behavior." 

Honda's partnership with Ohio State University encompasses a broad range of initiatives between the university and Honda's Ohio-based R&D and manufacturing operations.