Dutch-based company Cruden have been building motorcycle simulators for over a decade, and this latest model – the B306-HMD might just be the greatest motorcycle simulator ever.
Cruden already run a successful business in producing car and boat simulators, and whilst motorcycles might initially seem easier to replicate virtually than cars, the nature of a rider-and-machine setup of a bike actually makes things far more tricky to reproduce.
Every car driver uses essentially the same technique to control a car; turn a wheel, push some pedals and the vehicle moves in a very direct way. This isn’t the case with a bike and rider.
A motorcycle rider forces a bike to react and turn based on external forces that they place on the machine through their physical positioning as well as steering and brake/throttle input.
And then of course, there are nuances such as counter steering.
Before now, bike simulators have attempted to mimic the effects of a rider moving their weight around on a motorcycle by measuring the changes of pressure on certain contact points of the bike – pedals, seat etc, but Cruden’s new system uses what they call ‘depth-map’ sensors (external camera’s essentially) that continually measure and determine how the rider is positioned and these alter the vehicle positioning immediately.
Also with car simulators a designer doesn’t have to worry so much about field of vision. With a fixed seating position and a limited viewport through the windows there isn’t quite as much work to be done than with a motorcycle version. Because a rider has effectively a 360 degree view of the surrounding world and may need to take advantage of this increased field-of-view at any moment.
So the solution to that? VR of course.
So now, with a bike mounted on a hydraulic platform that can react to any input and situation and with a Head Mounted Display [HMD], not only does the machine react with the rider inputs, but the environment surrounding the rider does too.
Plus with sounds mapped realistically from a Yamaha R6 and Ducati 848 Evo in full surround, immersion is about as full as you can get.
This isn’t a game of course – although it does looks awesome – it’s intended purpose is for motorcycle designers, research scientists looking to offer safer motorcycling to the public and for rider/racer training.
That doesn’t stop us just wanting a go for fun!