Effects of visual fidelity on curve negotiation, gaze behaviour and simulator discomfort

PM van Leeuwen, C Gómez i Subils, A Ramon Jimenez, R Happee, JCF de Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Technological developments have led to increased visual fidelity of driving simulators. However, simplified visuals have potential advantages, such as improved experimental control, reduced simulator discomfort and increased generalisability of results. In this driving simulator study, we evaluated the effects of visual fidelity on driving performance, gaze behaviour and subjective discomfort ratings. Twenty-four participants drove a track with 90° corners in (1) a high fidelity, textured environment, (2) a medium fidelity, non-textured environment without scenery objects and (3) a low-fidelity monochrome environment that only showed lane markers. The high fidelity level resulted in higher steering activity on straight road segments, higher driving speeds and higher gaze variance than the lower fidelity levels. No differences were found between the two lower fidelity levels. In conclusion, textures and objects were found to affect steering activity and driving performance; however, gaze behaviour during curve negotiation and self-reported simulator discomfort were unaffected.

Practitioner Summary: In a driving simulator study, three levels of visual fidelity were evaluated. The results indicate that the highest fidelity level, characterised by a textured environment, resulted in higher steering activity, higher driving speeds and higher variance of horizontal gaze than the two lower fidelity levels without textures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1364
Number of pages18
JournalErgonomics: an international journal of research and practice in human factors and ergonomics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • driving simulation
  • simulator fidelity
  • curve negotiation
  • eye-movements
  • simulator discomfort


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