Using Virtual Reality to Test Rider's Reactions to Making a PRT Trip

image from
videotape Virtual reality techniques have been used recently in Sweden to examine the reactions potential PRT riders have to various features of the vehicle, stations and other parts of the PRT system. This work has been done by Elsa Rosenblad at the Department of Consumer Technology at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was presented at a recent conference on PRT and Other Emerging Transportation Systems and a videotape of the images generated by the virtual reality (VR) system was shown also. Some clips from this videotape are available. The quality of the videotape's images are much better than the digitized images from the videotape shown here.

The aim of this project was to study people's encounter with PRT during a simulated trip in a real PRT vehicle to explore people's feelings, attitudes and behavior when faced with the new technology as well as to study the possibilities of VR-technology in order to get closer to people's experiences with reality.

image from videotape Using VR-technology, a PRT guideway loop was modeled to represent a well-known part of Gothenburg. Its surroundings were made as lifelike as possible and a video recording was made of a trip around the loop. The vehicle passes two stations, after having picked up a passenger at the starting point. Surrounding buildings, landscape and traffic were modeled in a lifelike manner as was the sound reverberations belonging to the respective images.

Thirteen subjects participated in the testing. They were provided with some background information and then shown the VR videotape. Semi-structured interviews were made and recorded and spontaneous comments to important questions captured. The questions dealt with personal security, safety and comfort issues for the most part. Subjects were also asked for opinions as to the level of visual intrusion on the landscape of the city. The paper presents the results from this testing in some detail and it is expected to be published in a journal in the near future and therefore cannot be posted here at this time.

More details about this project can be obtained from Elsa Rosenblad . Her mailing address is Department of Consumer Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, S-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden

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Last modified: January 8, 1997