Technician caught speeding at 130mph on campus

When we were offered the opportunity to drive a 2005 Jaguar S-type we couldn’t turn it down; even if it was only a Simulator.

Peter Richmond (Teaching Spaces Facilities Assistant) (l) and Andrew Tomlinson (Research Assistant) plan their route.

Inside the ITS Car Simulator

As Learning Technologist Network members we are always interested in ways to use technology to aid teaching and research, and the Institute for Transport Studies driving Simulator has a lot to offer. The institute’s dedicated website describes the facility as “one of the most advanced worldwide in a research environment and allows research into driver behaviour to be performed in accurately controlled and repeatable laboratory conditions.”

During our tour of this fantastic facility we learned about the 80W 4.1 sound system which provides audio cues of engine, transmission and environmental noise, and the eye-tracker which allows the driver’s gaze angle to be recorded in real-time to an accuracy of within ±1o. However, like a group of over-excited school children, all we really wanted to do was have a play!

Up stepped Pete Richmond from the Facilities Support Team. He seemed right at home in the Jaguar from the start and after few twists and turns he got onto the straight and chalked up an impressive 130mph! The fastest technician in the University? He certainly was that day.

While it was a lot of fun there is a serious side. One driving volunteer was asked to name capital cities whilst ‘driving’ on a rural road, in an attempt to demonstrate how driver behaviour is affected when the driver becomes distracted. “What is the capital of The Bahamas?” was one of the questions. “Think of James Bond” was the clue as Casino Royale was part filmed in Nassau. After a slight pause a mischievous voice shouted out "Goldfinger!" Maybe not that serious then.
Photo of the outside of the ITS SimulatorThe driving simulator from the outside – not quite the Jaguar aesthetic!

Many thanks to Michael Daly (Driving Simulator Programmer) and Andrew Tomlinson (Research Assistant) for being excellent hosts during our tour of the facility. Photos by Kirsten Thompson, Damian McDonald and Marcus Hill. If you’d like to know more about the Learning Technologist Network click here. Future interesting trips include:

Monday 23 May 2016, 13.00-14.00: Introduction to Raspberry Pi and creating 3D environments for the web and virtual reality
Raspberry Pi: The history of Pi, models available, Operating systems available.  Advantages and limitations to using a Pi and now to purchase a Pi.
Creating 3D environments: Presentation of the different approaches and tools available, with a particular focus on how to create interactive and immersive 3D environments without writing any code and an opportunity to try out a 3D headset.

Friday 24 June 2016, 15.00–16.00: Tour of Mechanical Engineering 'National Facility for Innovative Robotics Systems'
Featuring one of the world’s largest 3D printers and 3D visualisation studio, the tour will include a look at some of the robotics facilities and projects and possibly a demo of a robot guitar, as seen on the Royal Institution lectures 2015. Staff in engineering are keen to discuss how these facilities may benefit teaching. (Session to be led by Martin Levesley.)

Wednesday 20 July 2016, 13.00-14.00: Edward Boyle Library Refurbishment / DSAS Technologies.
Assistive Technology available to University of Leeds students – a presentation on the assistive software/technology available in the clusters and libraries, including potential uses for all students.

To book on any of the above, please email

Marcus Hill

Thank you to Damian McDonald of the Learning Technologist Network for organising the visit.

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