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Knightrider Seatbox & Driving Simulator

2016 | HERE GmbH CES Las Vegas


The seatbox is a flexible system for prototyping automotive user experiences. At its core is a driving simulator built on top of HERE’s most accurate 3d maps where the user can drive in an immersive 3d enviroment develeoped in Unity.

The simulation reports a virtual gps location to our central comms server which relays this information (and anything else we need from the sim) to any connected client.

With the configurable seatbox from Mirai digital we can swap hardware screens and componants to allow us to test any kind of vehicle setup and input devices.

Production Team

Mark Pearce
Stephan Scheunig
Chris Thompson
Hector Sanchez-Pajarez
Matthias Viranyi
Holger Storm
Roland Heuger
Ruggero Baracco
Stefano Trento
Tero Huttunen
Kalle Bertell

Hardware Components

The base seatbox is built upon a flexible setup of aluminum tubing and adjustible clamps, allowing us to reconfigure the hardware to suit the use case and project specifications.

The standard display configuration includes cluster, center and a large reflected HUD. Room lighting can be controlled by the simulation to allow us to test for dynmic conditions.  We use 3d sound and different speaker setups to provide a spatialized audio experence, and advanced head and eye tracking for interaction and measurement.

In addition we can connect mobile device to the comms server to allow us to explore companion experience and to control the system.

Head and Eye Tracking

Interaction and Measurement

By tracking the position of the driver’s head we are able to dynamically adjust the rendering of HUD graphicsin order to provide a contact analogue effect. Meaning that images on the HUD seem to be attached to the real word.

With high precision and frequencey eye tracking, we’re able to explore the use of gaze as an input to the vehicle HMI and to calculate what the driver may be looking at in the evironment.

We can also use this ability to record and measure the users eye movements and gaze target for research and testing purposes. (heatmaps, distraction, mood, fatigue etc)

Turn by Turn Manuevers

Maneuver & Waypoint Markers
Animated lane-level TBT Guidance
Damaged Road & Speed Bump Indicators Visual Lane Assistance

Arrival Location Indication

Provides visual location of destination
Standard address or realtime POI info
Parking and arrival guidance

POI Selection and Highlighting

Display & Selection of perspective correct POIs
Selection & Context Based Detail Display

Software System

The Simulaton

The driving simulation is built in Unity using highly accurate 3d maps. The simulation spoofs the GPS co-ordinates to the comms server and reports virtual ‘canbus’ that allows us to relay vehicle status such as speed or braking.

The Communication Server

The comms server acts as the central hub for all information about the simulation state and synchronizes information accross the connected clients.  It is written in Node.js and MQTT

Client Applications

The system is agnostic to the the client type, so long as it can subscribe to the MQTT topics and commicate with the webserver.

Typically each channel/output device has its own software client, and we can also connect mobile or external devices which may use the simulation data however they like.

Software Clients in Action

Design Process

Concept Phase

  • Start in the real world – expose the issues.
  • Quick ideation, address the top three problems.
  • Collaborate with users and research.
  • Be informed by strategic direction and business case.

Seatbox Validation

  • Flexible setup – swap equipment as needed to fit the use case or target vehicle specs.
  • Test drive experiences in an accurate simulation based on real world data.
  • Quick validation and iteration cycles.
  • Safely test concepts and technology without the regulatory and environmental constraints of a real car.

Vehicle Testing

  • Test validated software prototypes from the simulation in the real world.
  • Reduce development cycles.

KnightRider in Las Vegas, CES 2016