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Project C.A.R., a group of students from Rochester Institute of Technology, has created a full-motion racing simulator to give student-drivers an opportunity to experience realistic simulator training. They have achieved this with as close to ‘real world’ feedback as possible. Although their project has been delayed due to the closure of RIT caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we still would love to showcase how this group achieved what they have done so far. All their tests have generated positive results and RIT Racing plans to take possession of the project for driving trainer at the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic calendar year.
Brad Sterner and his teammates used a combination of Progressive Automations actuators, virtual reality, a PLC microcontroller, C# Programming software, and structural analysis to complete this project.
The layout of the simulator is based on the design characteristics of RIT Racing’s competition cars. The frame was used as a solid foundation for mounting four units of the PA-04 Linear Actuators while keeping the total weight of the assembly to a minimum. Using drawings from their design process, Project C.A.R.’s team members manufactured all required parts themselves to assemble this simulator.
The team used a PLC microcontroller – Arduino Uno to be exact, to manage the electrical side of the project. It takes input from a host PC using serial commands and outputs PWM/direction signals to the motor controls of the PA-04 actuators. In the future, Project C.A.R. has stated that a gyro will be added as input for verifying the motion control of the simulator.
Most of the software used in this project consists of C# programming. Project C.A.R. has designed a program to serve as an interface between the simulation and electrical components, which is comprised of three parts: data in, the Graphical User Interface (GUI), and the data out.
Simulator Animation by Project C.A.R.
A lot of testing, programming, hand calculations, and reviews have been made to ensure that this simulation is able to perform and model a real formula car. During the team’s testing phase, the PA-04 actuators were tested simultaneously and were able to operate correctly. There were no issues with the electrical components heating up, but Project C.A.R. has a back-up plan in mind if a cooling fan is required in the future. The project will be completed at a later date, with minimal adjustments, and we would like to congratulate Project C.A.R. for their hard work and tremendous efforts in creating this full-motion racing simulator!
From left) Andrew Coco, John Lukowski, Jake Martinez, Brad Sterner, Hunter Cyr, Caitlin Barron, James Bedard