Flannagan, M., Bao, S., Pradhan, A., Sullivan, J. et al., "Varying Levels of Reality in Human Factors Testing: Parallel Experiments at Mcity and in a Driving Simulator," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-1374, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-1374.
Mcity at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor provides a realistic off-roadway environment in which to test vehicles and drivers in complex traffic situations. It is intended for testing of various levels of vehicle automation, from advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to fully self-driving vehicles. In a recent human factors study of interfaces for teen drivers, we performed parallel experiments in a driving simulator and Mcity. We implemented driving scenarios of moderate complexity (e.g., passing a vehicle parked on the right side of the road just before a pedestrian crosswalk, with the parked vehicle partially blocking the view of the crosswalk) in both the simulator and at Mcity. In this report, we describe the differences between driver performance measured on the track and in the simulator, and suggest that Mcity, and other similar new facilities, offer promising new opportunities to study driving behavior in ways that may be complementary to research in driving simulators.