About the research
This project developed an automatic conversion software tool that takes input a from an Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) MicroStation three-dimensional (3D) design file and converts it into a form that can be used by the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) MiniSim. Once imported into the simulator, the new roadway has the identical geometric design features as in the Iowa DOT design file.
The base roadway appears as a wireframe in the simulator software. Through additional software tools, textures and shading can be applied to the roadway surface and surrounding terrain to produce the visual appearance of an actual road.
This tool enables Iowa DOT engineers to work with the universities to create drivable versions of prospective roadway designs. By driving the designs in the simulator, problems can be identified early in the design process. The simulated drives can also be used for public outreach and human factors driving research.