Driving Simulations Go Global

Our recent trip to the Land Down Under got us thinking about how different things are in other parts of the world. Different currency, different languages, different cultural expectations.

Since we were down there to install a driving simulator we were especially interested in the differences between the way they drive in Australia, and the way we drive in the USA (like using metric units, driving on the left side of the road, and different types of roadway signage).

If you’re not in the driving simulator business, you might not realize that all of these differences make international driving simulations a rather difficult task. Just think about it – in the United States alone there are tons of regional differences in signage and driving tasks: horizontal versus vertical signal lights, roundabouts, the many ways to turn left, etc. Now, extrapolate that out to the entire world and you’ll understand what we have to contend with.

Can a simulator address all these differences and provide consistent scenarios across multiple regions and the world? That’s a pretty tall order! While we’d love to answer with a resounding YES, STISIM Drive can’t quite solve all these problems. But, it does include a tool that can get you going in the right direction. A scenario conversion tool.

What Is a Scenario Conversion Tool?

What a scenario conversion tool does is fairly simple. It allows you to modify any scenario by changing the units of measure (e.g. from miles to kilometers), change the side of the road the driver will be driving on, change the roadway signage, and clean up a scenario file. For the more technical minded, it can also change the parsing characters used to separate parameters in the scenario script (we’ll discuss this in more detail in a bit).

You might be thinking to yourself, “What’s this got to do with me? I have my scenarios and they’ve been scripted the way I like them. I don’t need to convert anything!”

The primary answer is collaboration. Many STISIM Drive clients share scenarios with one another, and when that sharing occurs across different regions, it might become necessary to convert to local signage, or change into different units.

Another reason this tool could be useful is to make the scenarios work on international computers where Windows is not set to use the standard United States settings. Remember when we mentioned parsing characters in the scenario script a couple sentences ago? Well, all the scenarios provided with the simulator have been scripted using a period (.) as the decimal point and a comma (,) as the parameter separator. However, many international systems use a comma as the decimal point and a semicolon (;) as the list separator!

Needless to say, the scenarios that come with the simulator will not work on these systems and will need to be converted. The good news is the scenario conversion tool will take care of this for you in no time at all!

How to Access the Scenario Conversion Tool

Image A – Conversion Tool interface

To access the tool, simply fire up the STISIM Drive main GUI and click on the “Tools” tab (see Image A). You should see an icon for a tool labeled “Convert Scenarios”. Click on that icon to launch the tool.

Using the tool is actually incredibly easy! It only takes a few quick steps:

  • Specify the folder where the original scenarios are stored. This will result in a list of scenarios appearing in the “Original scenario file names” list box
  • Specify the folder where the new converted scenarios will be saved.
  • Make your scenario conversion selections using the options along the left side of the user interface window.
  • In the “Original scenario file names” list box select the scenarios you would like to convert.
  • Click “Convert Scenarios” button.
  • Voila! You’re all set!

These steps, which took just a few mouse clicks and less than a minute, is what allowed us to provide Australia with scenarios fit for their specific driving norms. So believe us when we tell you this tool will save you weeks of work!

Driving on the left side of the road – post conversion.

Driving on the right side of the road – pre conversion.