The NADS-1 simulator gives the most realistic driving simulation experience in the country as it moves across the bay floor, tilts, and rotates to simulate the movements a car makes on the road.

Vibrations inside simulate what it’s like driving over different road surfaces, while the driver is surrounded 360° by a virtual environment projected on the inside walls of the dome. 

NADS-1 photos


The NADS-1 is one of the world’s highest-fidelity simulators. Four hydraulic actuators attached to the cab produce vibrations emulating road feel. The 24-foot dome is mounted on a yaw ring that can rotate the dome about its vertical axis by 330 degrees. The X-Y assembly produces lateral and longitudinal accelerations by moving about a 64-foot by 64-foot bay. The NADS-1 motion system is capable of providing the driver with realistic motion cues that allow the driver to feel acceleration, braking, and steering, as well as experience extreme maneuvers generally associated with critical driving events.  

Vehicle cabs

The cab inside the dome can be a full-sized car, sport utility vehicle, truck, or tractor cab. The cabs include eye-tracking, head tracking, and seat posture sensing systems that provide data on driver performance and comfort. Optional secondary task displays can be installed to vary driver workload. The steering wheel, pedals, and seat also have the ability to provide haptic feedback to simulate warning systems.

Visual system

The NADS-1 displays graphics by using sixteen high-definition LED projectors for seamless imagery on the interior walls of the dome resulting in a 360 degree horizontal and 40 degree vertical field of view. The driver feels immersed as a result of seeing projected scenery through all windows and mirrors. 

All the simulators at NADS use the same driving environments for urban, suburban, interstate, and rural driving areas in day and night-time driving conditions. We also the have the ability to model new areas or provide geo-specific replicas of actual world locations.

Audio system

The audio system provides sounds that emulate wind, tire, engine, and other vehicle noise, as well as special effects such as tire blowouts that are correlated with the dynamic behavior of the vehicle. Additional sounds produced by surrounding traffic are blended with the ambient sounds to produce an immersive experience.

Simulation software

The NADS-1 features an open architecture where different sub-systems communicate with each other using a published interface on a dedicated high-speed network. This flexible architecture allows for integration of third party hardware and software systems. Engineers at NADS also have access to source code for all of the university-owned simulator software and actively manage and make updates to this software to support research and sponsor needs.

Motion system performance parameters

X-Y Platform


± 32 ft


± 20 ft/s


± 20 ft/s²


Motion Base

Z (heave)

± 2.0 ft

Z (velocity)

± 5 ft/s

Z (acceleration)

± 32 ft/s²

Pitch, roll

± 25 deg

Pitch, roll rates

± 45 deg/s

Yaw rate

± 58 deg/s

Pitch, roll, yaw acceleration

± 120 deg/s²

Yaw (turntable)

± 330 deg

Vibration displacement

± 0.2 in

Noise (multi-axis)

≤ 0.02 g