Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Ford Taps Quantum3D to Build Virtual Simulator for Crash Protection


By Advanced Imaging Editorial Staff

Quantum3D, Inc., (San Jose, Calif.), a leading provider of Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) real-time visual computing solutions, is helping upgrade Ford Motor Co.'s VIRtual Test Track EXperiment (VIRTTEX) Driving Simulator with the latest, most powerful computing and simulation technologies to improve vehicle safety. Ford is testing new, active crash-avoidance technologies to build on its leadership in crash protection, which includes the most five-star safety-rated vehicles of any automaker in history.

Ford has upgraded the image generator (IG) in its VIRTTEX Simulator to Quantum3D's highest-end solution, Independence IDX 4000. Located at Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich., VIRTTEX is the auto industry's only full-motion driving simulator in North America. VIRTTEX has been operational since 2001 and continues to be a critical tool in Ford's ongoing effort to better understand the complexities of driver distraction.

Ford selected Independence as part of a comprehensive visual system upgrade for the VIRTTEX Simulator, which is used by Ford engineers to assist in automobile design, safety analysis, performance analysis and human-factors research. The Independence features NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 Graphics Subsystems configured in a unique system-level, parallel-rendering architecture. This configuration enables Ford to take advantage of the system's advanced features, including anisotropic filtering for more realistic road surfaces, shader-based rendering for enhanced lighting effects and Boston Dynamics DI-Guy for realistic human simulation.

Additionally, the technology insertion provides Ford with the use of open standards, such as the Common IG Interface (CIGI) standard for host interfaces and Gigabit Ethernet. The CIGI standard made the upgrade seamless to other components of simulator architecture, obviating the need for programming to enable communication between the image generator and the VIRTTEX Simulator.

As with Ford's deployment of Independence IDX 2500, Ford will leverage Quantum3D's Mantis software, which will give Ford industry-leading performance and features with image quality sustained at a 60 Hz frame rate.

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