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Technical Note

Westdrive X LoopAR: An Open-Access Virtual Reality Project in Unity for Evaluating User Interaction Methods during Takeover Requests

1
Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, 49090 Osnabrück, Germany
2
Center of Experimental Medicine, Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20251 Hamburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Shared First Authorship.
Shared Senior Authorship.
Academic Editors: Hyun Myung and Yang Wang
Sensors 2021, 21(5), 1879; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21051879
Received: 21 December 2020 / Revised: 21 February 2021 / Accepted: 25 February 2021 / Published: 8 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Sensing for Smart Cities)
With the further development of highly automated vehicles, drivers will engage in non-related tasks while being driven. Still, drivers have to take over control when requested by the car. Here, the question arises, how potentially distracted drivers get back into the control-loop quickly and safely when the car requests a takeover. To investigate effective human–machine interactions, a mobile, versatile, and cost-efficient setup is needed. Here, we describe a virtual reality toolkit for the Unity 3D game engine containing all the necessary code and assets to enable fast adaptations to various human–machine interaction experiments, including closely monitoring the subject. The presented project contains all the needed functionalities for realistic traffic behavior, cars, pedestrians, and a large, open-source, scriptable, and modular VR environment. It covers roughly 25 km2, a package of 125 animated pedestrians, and numerous vehicles, including motorbikes, trucks, and cars. It also contains all the needed nature assets to make it both highly dynamic and realistic. The presented repository contains a C++ library made for LoopAR that enables force feedback for gaming steering wheels as a fully supported component. It also includes all necessary scripts for eye-tracking in the used devices. All the main functions are integrated into the graphical user interface of the Unity® editor or are available as prefab variants to ease the use of the embedded functionalities. This project’s primary purpose is to serve as an open-access, cost-efficient toolkit that enables interested researchers to conduct realistic virtual reality research studies without costly and immobile simulators. To ensure the accessibility and usability of the mentioned toolkit, we performed a user experience report, also included in this paper. View Full-Text
Keywords: VR research; out-of-the-loop unfamiliarity (OOTLU) autonomous driving; human–machine interaction; takeover request (ToR) VR research; out-of-the-loop unfamiliarity (OOTLU) autonomous driving; human–machine interaction; takeover request (ToR)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nezami, F.N.; Wächter, M.A.; Maleki, N.; Spaniol, P.; Kühne, L.M.; Haas, A.; Pingel, J.M.; Tiemann, L.; Nienhaus, F.; Keller, L.; König, S.U.; König, P.; Pipa, G. Westdrive X LoopAR: An Open-Access Virtual Reality Project in Unity for Evaluating User Interaction Methods during Takeover Requests. Sensors 2021, 21, 1879. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21051879

AMA Style

Nezami FN, Wächter MA, Maleki N, Spaniol P, Kühne LM, Haas A, Pingel JM, Tiemann L, Nienhaus F, Keller L, König SU, König P, Pipa G. Westdrive X LoopAR: An Open-Access Virtual Reality Project in Unity for Evaluating User Interaction Methods during Takeover Requests. Sensors. 2021; 21(5):1879. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21051879

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nezami, Farbod N., Maximilian A. Wächter, Nora Maleki, Philipp Spaniol, Lea M. Kühne, Anke Haas, Johannes M. Pingel, Linus Tiemann, Frederik Nienhaus, Lynn Keller, Sabine U. König, Peter König, and Gordon Pipa. 2021. "Westdrive X LoopAR: An Open-Access Virtual Reality Project in Unity for Evaluating User Interaction Methods during Takeover Requests" Sensors 21, no. 5: 1879. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21051879

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