An assessment of the potential use of driving simulators for the car-driving test

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Interest in driving simulators has risen due to new technologies that better resemble real-world driving and the cost reduction of driving simulator development. In recent years, safety researchers commonly use driving simulators to examine complex driving behaviors in a controlled and safe environment. However, the question remains whether or not a driving simulator could be used to assess novice drivers’ driving skills performance. These drivers are overrepresented in crashes after passing their driving license test. To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, there is little known about to what extent driving simulators could add value to the traditional on-road car-driving test to assess human driving performance. A framework was used to structure the information available in the literature and practice. A staged research approach consisting of literature research, a questionnaire, and in-depth interviews resulted in an information inventory. The Dutch car-driving test is used as a case study. The results showed a remaining knowledge gap in the literature research about the usefulness of the driving simulator for assessing the set of required driving skills for each part of the Dutch car-driving test. Useful driving simulator training results were found for overtaking & side-way movements. The information from practice showed promising results on the driving simulator’s hazard perception training for human car driving performance. This thesis concludes that driving simulators could lead to a more comprehensive driving test regarding hazard perception assessment. The potential use of a transportable simulator without moving base would be worth further investigating. A fixed-base driving simulator with a blind spot seems promising for overtaking & side-way movements driving movements. Both findings require follow-up research since this thesis provided the first step of research into the opportunities regarding driving simulator usage for human car driving performance assessment.