Our mission is to make our roads safer by researching the connection between humans and vehicles.

The University of Iowa Driving Safety Research Institute (DSRI) is an interdisciplinary transportation safety research institute in the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. It is home to the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS-1 simulator), a suite of world-class driving simulators, and a fleet of instrumented on-road research vehicles. 

Funded by government and industry, DSRI conducts research studies for the private and public sectors. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) owns the NADS-1 simulator itself, while the University of Iowa takes responsibility for operation and maintenance.

DSRI Visual Strategic Plan Roadmap

Guiding Principles

Learn more about our mission and guiding principles in our visual Strategic Plan Roadmap.

A Video Overview

Our motivation

U.S. 2018 motor vehicle crash statistics:

  • There were a total of 36,560 traffic fatalities, including 4,985 involving motorcyclists and 6,283 pedestrians.
  • 1.9 million people injured
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.
  • Crashes were up by as much as 6 percent in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, compared with neighboring states that haven’t legalized marijuana for recreational use.
  • 9.5% of all crashes and 10.8% of higher-severity crashes involved drowsiness.
  • Distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in 2018 alone. Among those killed: 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 5 through 9 and 15 through 24, and the second-leading cause of death for all other age groups over 1 year of age.
  • The economic cost to society exceeds $445 billion.

Partnering with us

NADS staff work on a miniSim configuration

We often work with:

  • Automotive industry
  • Tier one and automotive suppliers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Federal and state government entities
  • Computer and software industry
  • Health sciences

In FY20, we worked with nearly 50 organizations, including the U.S. DOT, NHTSA, Toyota, General Motors, Leidos, and several other research centers and universities. 

How to work with us

The NADS-1 simulator and its in-house miniSims are open for use by anyone interested in sponsoring and conducting driving-based development and research. This is a national, shared-use facility that has collaborated with industry, military, and federal and state governments.

Work at the Driving Safety Research Institute can be done in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to):

  • Using our suite of driving simulators or on-road vehicles and in-house expertise to sponsor and conduct research and/or clinical studies.
  • Utilizing our experience to design and build a miniSim driving simulator specifically for your needs.
  • Collaborating with our staff and faculty to enhance the functionality of your existing simulation platform.
  • Utilizing our expertise in writing in-house simulation software to develop applications suited for your needs.

Email us at dsri-contacts@uiowa.edu to talk more about how to partner with us.