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School Bus Evacuation drills in a CVE

Current Students: Phillip Devreaux

Status: Current

Virtual Reality (VR) training has been used for training and education for many years in military and medical fields. We have used game creation as a metaphor in creating an experimental setup to study evacuation behavior in a Subway Environment. Creating a live emergency with real people would be dangerous and unethical. However, creating a virtual emergency with real people is safe and efficient. Virtual reality experiments with virtual evacuation drills are necessary to study human behavior under emergency situations that cannot be evaluated in the real world. The use of collaborative virtual environments to run virtual evacuation drills for an emergency evacuation eliminates risk of injury to participants and allows for the testing of scenarios that could not be tested in real life due to legal issues and possible health risks to participants. We have developed a collaborative virtual environment (CVE) using Unity 3D gaming engine for performing evacuation drills for a school bus.

Link to Virtual Bus Tour

Hypothesis

  • Our hypothesis is that the “sense of presence” provided by the multi-user virtual environment will allow running simulations and conducting evacuation drills without the cost and risk of injury to live actors
  • Virtual Evacuation Drills
    • More Cost Effective
    • Less Setup Time
    • Able to Simulate Real Danger
    • Improved Response Time
 
  All Fully Functional Exits Front Bus view
 
  Awaiting User to take Position Bus Exits view
 
  Back Door Handle Selection view
Roof Hatch Functional view
 
  Back door exit view Seated Students view
 

Virtual Evacuation Drills

  Our contribution lies in our approach to combine computer simulated agents and user controlled autonomous agents in a collaborative virtual environment to perform virtual evacuation drills. Results from this study can be used to measure the effectiveness of current procedures, protocols, and the effectiveness of training for school bus driver and safety personals.
 
 

[Acknowledgement: This study was supported, in part, by National Science Foundation, Award HRD-1238784]

Publications

  • Sharma, S, Jerripothula,S., Mackey, S. and Soumare, O, "Immersive Virtual Reality Environment of a Subway Evacuation on a Cloud for Disaster Preparedness and Response Training", proceedings of IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (IEEE SSCI 2014), Orlando, Florida, USA, Dec. 9-12, 2014.

Posters and Student Presentations

  1. Stephon Mackey and Dr. Sharad Sharma, "Virtual Reality Subway Evacuation Drill with Multi-User Environment" , 7th Annual Grant Expo, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), Bowie State University, April 22, 2014.
  2. Roy B. Brown II and Dr. Sharad Sharma, "Emergency Response Simulation Using Virtual Reality", Oral Presentation, at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), hosted by AAAS, EHR and NSF, Washington DC, February 20-22, 2014.
  3. Stephen Otunba and Dr. Sharad Sharma, "Teaching Traffic Safety Through an Immersive Multiuser Environment", Oral Presentation, at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), hosted by AAAS, EHR and NSF, Washington DC, February 28th - March 2nd, 2013.
  4. Stephen Otunba and Dr. Sharad Sharma, "Evacuation Simulation in a Multiuser Virtual Reality Environment", Oral Presentation, at he Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), hosted by AAAS, EHR and NSF, Atlanta, GA, February 23-25 2012.
  5. Aaron Boothe, Mike Tice, Zachary Springer, and Dr. Sharad Sharma, "Multi‐User Environment in VR for Evacuation Scenarios Using Gaming Metaphor", Poster Presentation, at he Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), hosted by AAAS, EHR and NSF, Atlanta, GA, February 23-25 2012.


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