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January 30, 2008

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Toyota Motor Corporation Selects CarSim for Use in World's Largest Driving Simulator

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Considered the largest of its kind in the world, Toyota Motor Corporation's new world-class driving simulator uses an actual vehicle inside a 23-foot diameter dome, with a 360 degree, concave video screen simulating a realistic driving environment. In addition to testing suspension, braking and other vehicle systems, it will measure driver behavior under a range of circumstances.

CarSim(R) Real Time (RT) from Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Mechanical Simulation Corporation is used to provide all the critical vehicle dynamics simulation for the system. "An installation of this magnitude can allow auto manufacturers to conduct precise tests of their designs, without the time, expense and hazards of road testing," said Terence Rhoades, Mechanical Simulation president. "Driver-behavior tests can be created in a repeatable, simulated environment. Without the danger of traffic exposure and unpredictable weather and road conditions, Toyota can simulate driver and vehicle responses to a wide range of environments, as well driver response to safety technology such as Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS)."

In fact, the Toyota simulator, located in Tokyo, is designed to measure vehicle performance impact from a wide range of driver characteristics, including reduced awareness of one's surroundings, inattentiveness to danger and impaired driving. The data are used to evaluate the effectiveness of safety technology such as driver-warning and vehicle-control systems in the vehicle and ITS outside the vehicle.

CarSim uses information derived from driver control inputs (steering angle, throttle, brake) and from the external environment, computes how the vehicle will move, and then provides motion instructions to the simulator and to the scenario generator creating the visual environment. The Toyota simulator features a vehicle inside the 23-foot diameter dome.

A 360 degree concave video screen is positioned more than 14 feet from the driver, and can be manipulated to simulate the sensations of driving, including speed, acceleration, turns and other maneuvers.

CarSim is Mechanical Simulation's software package for simulating, viewing and analyzing the dynamic vehicle behavior of cars, light trucks and utility vehicles, utilizing driver, ground and aerodynamic inputs. The Toyota program uses Mechanical Simulation's CarSim RT (Real Time), which features live connections to physical hardware, real-time analysis software, and post- processing capabilities. It was supplied to Toyota by Virtual Mechanics Corporation, Nagoya, Japan.

CarSim is used in a wide range of driving simulators, from desktop and other non-motion simulators to full vehicle simulation systems (such as Toyota's new system). In addition, CarSim is used in driver training simulators for new car and truck drivers, as well as for driver training qualification and other simulation purposes in motorsports.

Toyota will incorporate its driving simulator testing into its research and development efforts for on-board vehicle safety systems as well as systems that support safe driving practices and integrate cars with the road infrastructure.

(Jan 29, 2008)

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