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Subjective evaluation of high-fidelity virtual environments for driving simulations

Debattista, Kurt; Bashford-Rogers, Thomas; Harvey, Carlo; Waterfield, Brian; Chalmers, Alan

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Kurt Debattista

Carlo Harvey

Brian Waterfield

Alan Chalmers


© 2013 IEEE. Virtual environments (VEs) grant the ability to experience real-world scenarios, such as driving, in a virtual, safe, and reproducible context. However, in order to achieve their full potential, the fidelity of the VE must provide confidence that it replicates the perception of the real-world experience. The computational cost of simulating real-world visuals accurately means that compromises to the fidelity of the visuals must be made. In this paper, a subjective evaluation of driving in a VE at different quality settings is presented. Participants (n = 44) were driven around in the real world and in a purposely built representative VE and the fidelity of the graphics and overall experience at low-, medium-, and high-visual settings were analyzed. Low quality corresponds to the illumination in many current traditional simulators, medium to a higher quality using accurate shadows and reflections, and high to the quality experienced in modern movies and simulations that require hours of computation. Results demonstrate that graphics quality affects the perceived fidelity of the visuals and the overall experience. When judging the overall experience, participants could tell the difference between the lower quality graphics and the rest but did not significantly discriminate between the medium and higher graphical settings. This indicates that future driving simulators should improve the quality, but once the equivalent of the presented medium quality is reached, they may not need to do so significantly.


Debattista, K., Bashford-Rogers, T., Harvey, C., Waterfield, B., & Chalmers, A. (2018). Subjective evaluation of high-fidelity virtual environments for driving simulations. IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 48(1), 30-40.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 3, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 15, 2017
Publication Date Feb 1, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 10, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 14, 2017
Journal IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems
Electronic ISSN 2168-2305
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 1
Pages 30-40
Keywords lighting; computational modeling; rendering (computer graphics); visualization; mathematical model; automobiles; driving simulators; physically based rendering; subjective evaluation; virtual environments (VEs); virtual reality
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Additional Information Additional Information : (c) 2017 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other users, including reprinting/ republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted components of this work in other works.


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