The development of the driving simulator software of Carnetsoft started in the early 90-ties when I (W. van Winsum) was working as a researcher at the traffic research center in Groningen (the earliest description of the software in the literature: Wolffelaar, P.C. van & Winsum, W. van. (1992). A new driving simulator including an interactive intelligent traffic environment. In: Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on vehicle navigation & information systems: 499-506. IEEE Service Center, Piscataway NJ.). The computer hardware consisted of Silicon Graphics machines then, because personal computers were not fast enough for graphical simulations. It was one of the first research simulators that used a script language and had programmable intelligent interactive traffic. The software was applied in a number of experiments on driver behaviour, for example:
– Van Winsum, W. & Brouwer, W. (1997). Time headway in car following and operational performance during unexpected braking.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 84, 1247-1257.
– Van Winsum, W. & Heino, A. (1996). Choice of time-headway in car-following and the role of time-to-collision information in braking. Ergonomics, 39(4), 579-592
– Van Winsum, W. & Godthelp, H. (1996). Speed choice and steering behavior in curve driving. Human Factors, 38(3), 434-441.
– Van Winsum, W. (1996). From adaptive control to adaptive driver behaviour. PhD Thesis. Haren., The Netherlands: Traffic Research Centre, University of Groningen.
Around the year 2000 I started ST Software, and the software was developed further. Driver training software was developed, first for the automobile club ANWB and later for other Dutch driving schools and for driving schools in several other countries. During the period 2000-2011 research simulators were sold to a number of Universities around the world, and the software has been used in a large number of experiments.
Since 2011 I developed the software further in Carnetsoft, focussing mainly on driver training simulators. The rendering system was replaced by a new system with a lot of new functionality. Since 2013 the research simulator software (database generation and experiment preparation) was developed further to improve user friendliness and the research simulator software was added to the product list as a desktop system.
The goal of Carnetsoft is to develop and market driver training and research simulators of high graphical quality and high training effectiveness, priced such that most driving schools can afford to buy one. It is our view that driver training simulators are generally too expensive and only affordable by large driving schools. This is undesirable because we think more effective training, with the help of simulators, can greatly benefit driver safety, and this should be accessible for every trainer.
The system has been developed such that it can be ported to different languages and rules of the road of different countries quite easily.