Worried about your teenager driving a car? They can learn for free on UB’s driving simulator

A driver and passenger in UB's driving simulation lab.

The University at Buffalo is offering to teenagers free use of its driving simulation lab.

Release Date: July 19, 2013

“Programs like this can ... provide much-needed behind-the-wheel practice for young drivers and generate invaluable data about teenage driving habits.”
Kevin Hulme, senior research partner, NYSCEDII

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Attention parents with teenagers learning to drive.

Starting in early August and continuing indefinitely, the University at Buffalo will offer teens 10 hours of free practice in its state-of-the-art driving simulation lab.

To qualify, teens must:

  • Not have driver’s license (A learner’s permit is OK.)
  • Have reliable transportation to and from UB’s North Campus
  • Obtain permission from a parent or guardian.

“Unfortunately, the leading cause of death for 16- to 19-year-olds is traffic accidents,” said project manager Kevin Hulme, PhD, senior research associate at the New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation at UB.

He added: “Programs like this can help reverse that trend, provide much-needed behind-the-wheel practice for young drivers and generate invaluable data about teenage driving habits that can help reduce moving violations, accidents and fatalities over time.”

Teens will receive five, two-hour sessions that mimic driving on local roads. UB researchers, meanwhile, will collect data for future scientific reports.

Using equipment donated by Moog Inc. of East Aurora, the lab provides a safe environment for participants to learn the basics of safely handling an automobile.

It features the front end of a car mounted on a platform that moves up and down, and from side-to-side, to simulate how a car reacts to turns, changes in elevation and other road conditions. Large projection screens display street signs, pedestrians, automobiles and other elements that drivers encounter. A stereo sound system emulates noises heard inside and outside of the vehicle.

To see a video of the lab, click here: http://bit.ly/1dHy5sG.

The lab will be open on days, evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of those participating. It is located at 107 Furnas Hall (building No. 39 on this map: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/maps/NorthCampus.pdf) on UB’s North Campus.

For more information or to enroll, send an email to ubsimulatortraining@gmail.com or call (716) 462-4836.

Note: Training offered in the driving simulation lab complements – it does not replace – traditional programs and methods that teenagers use to learn to drive.

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of News Content
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614
Twitter: @UBengineering