Tuesday, January 9, 2024

University of lowa mechanical engineering student Ken Reichert is a student employee at the Driving Safety Research Institute and spends his time there building custom driving simulators for clients around the world. 

The American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates recently received this custom half-cab simulator constructed from a low-mileage Hyundai Sonata body with the complete powertrain and suspension systems removed. Pictured below during the build process, the completed simulator will have a front cylindrical screen of 166 degrees horizontal field of view and four projectors.

Reichert worked on the build alongside miniSim team members in the construction of this cab. Reichert removed the dashboard and interior trim in order to access the wiring harness and install instrumentation. He used the vehicle's technical documentation to identify the needed circuits to integrate with the miniSim software, such as turn signals and accelerator pedal, and created numerous cable assemblies in the process. 

He designed a complex 3D part to cradle the new LCD display installed where the old gauge cluster was located, about which he said: 

"Witnessing the application of CAD modeling and 3D printing in the development of the new digital gauge cluster was exhilarating. The process involved a fascinating fusion of reverse engineering, where essential features of one item were meticulously analyzed and combined with elements from another, resulting in the creation of something entirely novel that closely mimicked the original. Understanding the applications of reverse engineering is an important skill for my future because understanding and applying reverse engineering principles empowers companies to overcome challenges."
Ken Reichert

He installed three video cameras for the video recording system, and changes were made to the audio system so that the sounds generated by the miniSim software and infotainment system can be presented to the driver in a realistic manner. This included adding a subwoofer and two tactile transducers to produce low-frequency sound and vibration experienced in a real car.

The cab features a DSRI-developed infotainment system, fully operational driver controls (steering, turn signals, etc.), and creature comforts including power seats and climate control. It also features adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.

Read our full 2023 Year in Review.