Navigation in VR and Driving Simulation


Alain Berthoz,

  • Honorary Professor at Collège de France,
  • Member of the Académie des Sciences,
  • Member of the Académie des Technologies

and Andras Kemeny,

  • Director, LIV Arts et Métiers ParisTech,
  • Renault Expert Leader,
  • Associate Professor at Arts et Métiers ParisTech

are pleased to invite you to the «Navigation in VR and Driving Simulation» seminar, which will be held at Collège de France (Paris) on May 15th 2017, with the cooperation of the Driving Simulation Association.

You can download here the program of the seminar in PDF format.


09h00 – 10h00
Welcome – Coffee
10h00 – 10h45
Dr Aurélie Dommes (IFSTTAR)
The use of a simulator to design and evaluate a vibrotactile wristband to improve navigation skills among older pedestrians
10h45 – 11h30
Pr Alain Berthoz (Collège de France)
Cognitive strategies for navigation – Virtual Reality studies
11h30 – 12h00
Virtual Reality room demonstration – Collège de France
12h00 – 14h00
Lunch – Networking
14h00 – 14h45
Dr Isabelle Milleville (IRCCYN)
Cybersickness and Presence in Virtual Reality
14h45 – 15h30
Pr Daniel Mestre (Marseille University)
Measuring presence in driving simulation
15h30 – 16h15
Pr Andras Kemeny (Renault, Arts et Métiers ParisTech)
New VR Navigation Techniques to Reduce Cybersickness
16h15 – 17h00
Pr Daniel Bennequin (Université Paris 7),
Guillaume Thibault (EDF),
Pr Alain Berthoz (Collège de France)
Navigation and learning strategies in complex 3D environments


  • To register, please send a mail to
  • Registration fee is 30€ (free for Driving Simulation Association members)
  • Deadline for registration: April 27th 2017

If you want to pay by credit card the registration fee for the seminar ONLY (and NOT becoming a member of DSA), use the payment button below:

Otherwise, if you want to become a member of DSA (same price of 30€) and benefit from the free registration for this seminar, please visit the “How to join” page.

Presentations details

  • Use of a simulator to design and evaluate vibrotactile wristband to improve navigation skills for older pedestrians
    Dr Aurélie Dommes (IFSTTAR)
    Preserving older pedestrians’ skills to navigate autonomously in urban environments is a challenge to maintain their quality of life and safety on road. Many studies actually show navigation difficulties with aging that lead to dangerous pedestrian behaviors and/or travel reduction. In line with recent technical advances, ITS navigation services are now directly targeting pedestrians. But after a decade of research, no universal personal navigation system has been successfully introduced and adopted. Existing systems do not take into account older’s perceptual and cognitive declines. They rely mainly on visual and/or auditory feedback, distracting therefore individuals from safe engagement in potentially hazardous environments. Haptic technologies can potentially be useful in this context since they provide information while freeing the users’ hands, ears and eyes. Haptics has also proven to be efficient in reducing reaction time, attentional load and distraction, but few studies examine beneficial effects in older people. To answer this aim, the present study assessed the efficiency of a vibrotactile navigation system to help older pedestrians navigating a urban city. To this end, 58 participants (20 young adults [aged 21–45 years], 20 younger-old [age 61–70] and 18 older-old [age 71–80]) took part in a simulated navigation task where participants had to go from point A to point B in a virtual city. The task was performed with a vibrotactile wristband delivering directional messages, or with a classic paper map showing the path to follow. A simulator was useful for testing the device’s ability to accurately emulate all of the necessary communication between the infrastructure, the vehicles and the pedestrians required for such a prototype (e.g., localization with millimeter precision). This is not yet available with current technologies, but could become possible in the near future with increasing research and development of connected objects and autonomous vehicles. The data showed that the wristband improved the correct numbers of turns taken (left / right) at simple intersections. The wristband also reduced travel time as compared with the paper map. These benefits were greater among the older-old participants, who had trouble using the paper map and thus benefited greatly from the assistance provided by the wristband.
    These findings suggest that this assistance device is able to improve pedestrian mobility by maintaining the travel autonomy of older pedestrians. In the case of complex intersections (where there were more than five possible), the wristband however proved to be less effective than at simple intersections due to the fact that, participants made some direction errors (confusion about which direction to take once in a roundabout). This finding may be linked to the design of the haptic messages delivered in these complex situations. Further studies focusing on the design of new
    vibrotactile messages that are better suited to complex intersections need to be conducted. It is interesting to note that the participants were more successful with the paper in these complex situations when they had map.
  • Cybersickness and Presence in Virtual Reality
    Dr Isabelle Milleville (IRCCYN)
    The use of Virtual Environments (VE) for evaluation or training remains controversial because of their artificiality. A great number of studies have sought to address the issue of how far VE are representative of what happens in reality. Usually the relevance of a VE, i.e. its validity, is often assessed in terms of various dimensions. These dimensions are compared both in the real world and in the VE and include: the physical validity, the behavioural validity, the cognitive validity and the validity of affective feeling.
    The feeling of presence in the VE is another way to assess validity. We will address this question through a specific VE; a fixed-base driving simulator. Three conditions were considered: driving a simulator, driving a school-owned vehicle and driving one’s own vehicle. Results first indicated that the feeling of presence was, for some of its component parts, identical in both the simulator and in a real car. Moreover, in both the simulator and real car, the assessments of presence are never close to 100%; indeed, sometimes they were considerably lower. This result leads us to believe that presence may often be underestimated in virtual environments because of the lack of an objective value of reference in the real world.Finally, the validity can also be dramatically impacted by a particular drawback often encountered with this technology : the simulator sickness. Our results also bring new sources of explanations about the simulator sickness.
  • New VR Navigation techniques to reduce cybersickness
    Pr Andras Kemeny (Renault, Arts et Métiers ParisTech)
    In nowadays state of the art VR environments, displayed in CAVEs or HMDs, navigation technics may frequently induce cybersickness or VR-Induced Symptoms and Effects (VRISE), drastically limiting the friendly use of VR environments with no navigation limitations. In two distinct experiments, we investigated acceleration VRISE thresholds for longitudinal and rotational motions and compared 3 different VR systems: 2 CAVEs and a HMD (Oculus Rift DK2). We found that VRISE occur more often and more strongly in case of rotational motions and found no major difference between the CAVEs and the HMD.
    Based on the obtained thresholds we developed a new “Head Lock” navigation method for rotational motions in a virtual environment in order to generate a “Pseudo AR” mode, keeping fixed visual outside world references. Thanks to a third experiment we have shown that this new metaphor significantly reduces VRISE occurrences and may be a useful base for future natural navigation technics.
  • Measuring presence in driving simulation
    Pr Daniel Mestre (Marseille University)
    One major issue when using driving simulators is their ecological validity, which is the evaluation of their capacity to enable drivers to behave as if the simulator was a real car and the virtual environment was a real environment. This is a difficult question that involves many aspects, such as the physical fidelity of the simulator, but also human factors. In that respect, the concept of presence (the feeling of “being there”) appears as an interesting concept to look at simulators’ ecological validity. Presence is dependent on immersive properties of the virtual scenario. More specifically, empirical findings have shown that sensory factors, such as environmental realism and graphics rendering can affect presence. We evaluated subjective ratings of presence, physiological activity and driving behavior, as a function of characteristics of the virtual environment. Static Vs dynamic driving simulation conditions were also compared. Results confirm the interest of using multiple assessment tools to evaluate behavioral effects of virtual environments.