Uni students utilise new simulator to tackle road safety

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

A new hi-tech driving simulator will enable researchers at The University of Western Australia to investigate a range of safety issues with the aim of reducing serious crashes on our roads.

The Western Australian Centre for Road Safety Research’s new advanced driving simulator, launched today by Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti and Minister for Road Safety David Michael, can realistically replicate a range of driving conditions in a safe and controlled environment.

Tertiary students working together to improve road safety

The simulator will support collaboration between researchers, PhD and Honours students across multiple disciplines, including road safety, engineering, ophthalmology, psychology, physiology and mathematics.

“Our mandate is to reduce serious injury crashes, and particularly fatalities on our roads and this new facility will allow us to identify the causes of those crashes and test interventions to determine how effective they are in reducing these crashes,” Associate Professor Roberts says..

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“While the facility is based here at UWA, it will also be available to private industry and anyone who is interested in doing research aimed at improving safety on our roads.”

Studying road safety without the risk

Funded by the Road Safety Commission ($450,000), Main Roads WA ($160,000) and UWA ($100,000), the simulator will provide new opportunities for researchers to study a wide range of road safety issues without the crash risk.

Associate Professor Paul Roberts, Deputy Director of UWA’s Centre for Road Safety Research, said the custom-built simulator would allow researchers to test new road layouts under a range of different traffic and weather conditions.

“The simulator will also enable us to safely test driver responses to challenges such as mobile phone distractions, fatigue and the impact of drugs and alcohol,” Associate Professor Roberts says.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]brandx.live