Professional VR motorcycle simulator unveiled

Manufacturer of professional driving simulators, Cruden, have been working on realistic motorcycle simulators since 2005, to be used professionally by other manufacturers, race teams, universities, research institutions and road safety organisations.  Recently, the company unveiled their latest model, the VR-enabled Cruden B306-HMDThe package incorporates a 6-DOF motion system in hexapod configuration, depth-map sensors for rider body tracking, an extra stiff steering actuator and a Head Mounted Display (HMD) for visualisation.

When riding a motorcycle, the control inputs from the rider are force-related instead of displacement-related. A rider controls the motorbike by exerting forces on the bike, for example by pushing (but usually not rotating) the handlebar, or shifting his/her weight.

The motorcycle steering process is made even more difficult to mimic by the essential riding technique of counter-steering. Above a certain speed, in the instant before leaning into a corner, a rider initiates a turn by pushing on the inside handlebar: pushing left to go left or pushing right to go right. This might seem counter-intuitive but most riders counter-steer instinctively and are barely aware of their handlebar input.

Whereas every driver controls a vehicle roughly the same way, especially when handling is not ‘on the limit’, there is much more differentiation in riding styles on motorbikes. Consequently, for a motorcycle simulator to offer a realistic riding experience, it must cater for all these different riding styles.

Cruden has equipped its motorcycle simulator, the B306-HMD, with a Head Mounted Display (HMD). This device offers a virtually unlimited field of view. With an HMD, unprecedented levels of immersion are reached. The rider is visually completely isolated from the real world but does feel the real motorcycle where he/she sees the virtual motorcycle, due to the highly accurate graphics and perfect integration of the HMD into Cruden’s Panthera simulation software. This integration is such that the HMD responds to the user’s head movements, not to the movements of the motion platform.

This new simulator will be especially useful to scientists researching how to make motorcycling safer on the public road, which requires a better understanding of variances in individual rider technique and the interaction of the rider with the environment. The simulator will make possible detailed analysis of this in a controlled and safe environment. Cruden expects its simulator will also be of value in high-level rider training, racing simulations and fine-tuning vehicle dynamics.

Cruden is a world-class manufacturer of professional driving simulators for the automotive, motorsport and marine industries. They supply all the necessary components; hardware, software, vehicle models, content and screens and projectors.