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Research into new mobility concepts: Commissioning of a new driving simulator

A latest-generation driving simulator has been purchased at Hof University of Applied Sciences for a six-figure sum. With this, the university wants to further strengthen its competence in researching and teaching new mobility concepts as well as in the areas of driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. The new acquisition was made possible by funding provided by the university, the Faculty of Economics, the Institute for Information Systems at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iisys) and the Upper Franconia Foundation. The first more extensive studies will start this year.

The driving simulator is operated by the research group ERUX (Empirical Research and User Experience) at iisys under the direction of Professors Dr. Joachim Riedl and Dr. Stefan Wengler. ERUX sees itself as a competence center for empirical market research with high practical and research relevance and wants to contribute with its work to make human-machine interfaces more user-friendly. The know-how of the research group is not limited to the field of autonomous driving, but has also been proven in the past within the framework of extensive studies, among others, on organic trade in Germany, on the consequences of the Corona pandemic for the working world or on the topic of digitalization.

For three years now, ERUX has been working with project partner Valeo Schalter und Sensoren GmbH in the field of autonomous driving to research the user behavior of car drivers in real driving environments. In the process, detailed feedback could be provided on which product functionalities met with high acceptance among customers or which functionalities need to be improved and how. With the new driving simulator, the research group is now going one step further: in future, new product functionalities can be simulated and tested for customer acceptance during the product development process. This not only saves costs for the manufacturer, but ultimately also leads to greater ease of use, more safety and thus greater customer satisfaction – a decisive factor, especially in the automotive industry. Until now, this was not possible without a simulator due to various circumstances.

We are very pleased that the driving simulator now gives us the opportunity to provide much greater support to companies as early as the product development process. Until now, the development process of complex, digital products has been primarily technically driven. By involving customers and users early and intensively, we are thus giving them a weighty voice in the companies and can better influence making the products more user-friendly.”

Prof. Dr. Stefan Wengler

In addition to the importance of the driving simulator for ERUX’s research, it and the data generated from it will be used to further develop the field of artificial intelligence (AI) at the university. The plan is to set up an AI lab for teaching, specifically for the students of the master’s program “Marketing Management”. Within the scope of this teaching activity, however, no AI will be programmed itself, but rather the data obtained (Big Data) will be evaluated in a targeted manner on the basis of existing programs.

Acquisitions such as the new driving simulator further improve the infrastructure and technical equipment in our research institutes and laboratories and contribute to our university making a name for itself nationally in future topics such as autonomous driving, AI and human-machine interface.”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann, President of Hof University of Applied Sciences

Kirsten Hölzel

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