Conference Proceeding

Low-Cost PC-Simulation Technology Applied to Novice Driver Training

  • R Wade Allen (Systems Technology, Inc. Hawthorne, CA)
  • Mary Lynn Cook (Systems Technology, Inc. Hawthorne, CA)
  • Theodore J Rosenthal (Systems Technology, Inc. Hawthorne, CA)


This paper describes a low-cost driving simulator designed to test the feasibility of training novice drivers. The simulator, based on personal computer technology, was fully interactive with steering, throttle and brake controls. Training and testing scenarios were defined procedurally using a scenario definition language (SDL) that required drivers to maintain safe speeds, negotiate curves and right angle turns, obey traffic control devices (markings, signs and signals) and interact with traffic and pedestrians that were controlled to represent cognitively challenging hazards. The SDL also allowed the event sequences in the scenarios to be conveniently rearranged from run to run to avoid drivers anticipating the occurrence of critical events. A pilot experiment was conducted to compare the simulation performance of a group of novice (unlicensed) drivers with a group of experienced drivers (more than ten years of driving) during two sessions. Performance measures included accidents and speed limit exceedances. Statistically reliable differences in performance were found between the novice and experienced drivers. These encouraging pilot study results suggest that low cost simulation may offer a way to teach novice drivers how to cope with cognitively complex driving hazards.

How to Cite:

Allen, R. & Cook, M. & Rosenthal, T., (2001) “Low-Cost PC-Simulation Technology Applied to Novice Driver Training”, Driving Assessment Conference 1(2001), 37-41. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2001 the author(s)

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Published on
15 Aug 2001
Peer Reviewed