Paper published in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. 61, 281–290. Authored by Baumgartner, E., Ronellenfitsch, A., Reuss, H.C. & Schramm, D.
Driving simulators are currently not a widely used tool in powertrain development although they offer numerous advantages especially for this use case. Simulators allow subjective evaluations in early phases of the development process and enable reproducible and controlled experiments with the exact same conditions for test drivers. To investigate on this subject, a study with 31 participants was conducted at the Porsche dynamic driving simulator. The research focusses on the systematic evaluation of the minimum perceptible difference in longitudinal acceleration profiles in a dynamic driving simulator with the goal to establish the simulator as a design tool for powertrain modifications. The just noticeable difference (JND) of the absolute acceleration level and the acceleration gradient is an important indicator, whether a mid-size driving simulator can be used to evaluate the impact of different engine configurations on the drivability of passenger cars. The results were analyzed statistically and show that the participants could detect differences of 4.25% in the absolute level and 13.89% in the gradient. This demonstrates that driving simulators should be integrated in the development process to assess powertrain concepts before using real prototype cars in order to decrease cost and time.