Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Staff photo

Professor Richard Romano

Chair in Driving Simulation

Phone: +44(0)113 34 38466
Room: Driving Simulator (4.20g Physics Deck)
Research Group: Human Factors and Safety

Twitter: @realsimcreator

Key Research Interests

  • Real-time multi-body and ground vehicle dynamics
  • Motion drive algorithms
  • Control loading for driving simulators
  • Rapid development of geo-specific databases
  • Ambient traffic models for driving simulators
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Real-time software design
  • Simulator sickness

Employment History

  • 2015-present, Professor of Driving Simulation, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 1997-2015, Founder and President, Realtime Technologies, Inc., Royal Oak, MI
  • 1995-1997, Supervisor - Brake System Simulation, ITT Automotive, Auburn Hills, MI
  • 1992-1995, Manager - Simulator Research and Development, University of Iowa
  • 1990-1992, Research Engineer, University of Iowa


  • PhD, Motion Drive Algorithms for Large Excursion Motion Bases, Industrial Engineering, University of Iowa, 1999 
  • MASc, Aerospace Engineering, University of Toronto, 1990
  • BASc, Engineering Science, University of Toronto, 1988 

Professional Engagements

  • Member, Simulation Subcommittee, Transportation Research Board, 1995-1998, 2003-2012
  • Chair, Ground Vehicle Simulation Special Interest Group, IMAGE Society, 1996-2002
  • Society of Automotive Engineers
  • Safety Research using Simulation (SAFER-SIM) UTC Advisory Board

Research Projects and Experience

Programme for Simulation Innovation (PSi) Theme 3 "Driving Simulation", Researcher
Sponsor: EPSRC

Multi-Resolution of Ground Platform Dynamic Performance and Mobility, PI
Sponsor: US Small Business Administration

Designed a methodology and software to convert offline vehicle dynamics models into real-time models for use in driving simulators. Conversions of Cartesian based models into recursive formulations with cut joints and advanced numerical solvers were designed and implemented.

Integration of Vehicle Models and Analytical Simulations, PI
Sponsor: US Small Business Administration

Designed a methodology and developed software to rapidly convert and integrate vehicle models from multiple simulation environments and render the results in real-time in CAVE and PowerWall environments.

Simulator Monitor and Control (SMAC) System, PI
Sponsor: US Small Business Administration

Designed and developed a system that allows simulation centers to safely and effectively run laboratory-based operator in the loop simulations in a cost-effective fashion. This includes the development of a JavaScript based scenario scripting system now marketed as SimVista and a video and data collection system and after action review system (SimObserver).

Integrating a Motion Base into a CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment, PI
Sponsor: US Small Business Administration

Implemented a portable ground vehicle simulator with motion base that installs in a CAVE. Performed human center research to evaluate the best motion cues when driving off-road. Developed a new approach for steering control loading using a DSP and high rate vehicle dynamics.

PhD Research Topics

I am happy to consider supervising research projects in a range of areas related to Key Research Interests or adjacent to them.  My current ideas include:

Robust, Long Haul, Distributed, Research Driving Simulation

Driving simulators have been used for human factors research and vehicle design for several decades.  In addition, distributed driving simulators have been used in training for a similar time period.  With the emergence of new vehicle and infrastructure technologies and methods to improve safety and reduce congestion such as Connected Vehicles (CV), Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and the potential deployment of Autonomous Vehicles (AV), research driving simulators need to be integrated into a distributed framework.  This framework will allow research with multiple drivers which is important when comparing the impact of new technologies with the existing driving environment.

Pedestrian Simulation

With the introduction of new Head Mounted Displays such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, there is renewed interest in pedestrian interactive simulators.  Oculus Rift based simulators have been recently created:

However there are a multitude of challenges when using HMDs.  It is not clear that a CAVE based pedestrian environment is not better for this type of research:

In addition to the user interface for the simulator, the underlying software is also a compelling area of research.  Making realistic city environments with excellent AI and rich compelling scenes is an additional challenge.  There is both a Human Factors component as well as a Computer Science component.  Research in either or both is encouraged.

Real-time Multi-Body Vehicle Dynamics

Gaming technology often focuses on impulse based dynamics while automobile manufacturers use multi-body physics and recursive multi-body dynamics.  To handle high frequency elements like bushings an implicit-explicit solver is often used.  There is an opportunity to integrate impulse based collisions, recursive multi-body dynamics, and implicit-explicit solvers to create new real-time solutions that can handle a variety of problems in automotive as well as other disciplines.


Book Chapters

  • Kuhl JG; Papelis YE; Romano RA (1993) An open software architecture for operator-in-the-loop simulator design and integration, Concurrent Engineering: Tools and Technologies for Mechanical System Design, Springer, pp.881-899.


  • Zywiol Jr HJ; Romano R (2003) Motion drive algorithms and simulator design to study motion effects on infantry soldiers, .
  • Romano RA (2001) Integrating a Motion Base into a CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment: Phase 1, .
  • Romano RA (1999) Motion control logic for large excursion driving simulators, .
  • Bloomfield JR; Buck JR; Carroll SA; Booth MS; Romano RA (1995) Human factors aspects of the transfer of control from the automated highway system to the driver. Working paper, October 1993-September 1994, .

Conference Papers

  • Mckee DW; Clement SJ; Ouyang X; Xu J; Romano R; Davies J (2017) The Internet of Simulation, a Specialisation of the Internet of Things with Simulation and Workflow as a Service (SIM/WFaaS), 2017 IEEE Symposium on Service-Oriented System Engineering (SOSE) .
  • Romano RA; Park GA; Paul V; Allen RW (2016) Motion Cueing Evaluation of Off-Road Heavy Vehicle Handling, Sae Technical Paper Series . doi: 10.4271/2016-01-8041
  • Sadraei E; Romano R; Advani S; Jamson AH; Chappell P; Markkula G; Bean A; Boer ER (2016) Understanding Cue Utility in Controlled Evasive Driving Manoeuvres: Optimizing Vestibular Cues for Simulator & Human Abilities, IFAC-PapersOnLine 49, pp.414-419. doi: 10.1016/j.ifacol.2016.10.601
  • Perera HS; Romano R; Nunez P (2006) Automated methods for converting a non real-time cartesian multi-body vehicle dynamics model to a real-time recursive model, SAE Technical Papers . doi: 10.4271/2006-01-1165
  • Romano R; Schultz S (2004) Validation of real-time multi-body vehicle dynamics models for use in product design and acquisition, SAE Technical Papers . doi: 10.4271/2004-01-1582
  • Morrison MM; Romano RA; Reid AA; Gorsich DJ (2004) High-frequency terrain content and surface interactions for off-road simulations, SAE Technical Papers . doi: 10.4271/2004-01-2641
  • Romano R (2003) Non-linear optimal tilt coordination for washout algorithms, AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference and Exhibit .
  • Romano R (2003) Real-time multi-body vehicle dynamics using a modular modeling methodology, SAE Technical Papers . doi: 10.4271/2003-01-1286
  • Romano R (2000) Realtime driving simulation using a modular modeling methodology, SAE Technical Papers . doi: 10.4271/2000-01-1297
  • Tijerina L; Jackson JL; Pomerleau DA; Romano RA; Petersen AD (1996) Driving simulator tests of lane departure collision avoidance systems, Intelligent Transportation: Realizing the Benefits. Proceedings of the 1996 Annual Meeting of ITS America. .
  • Freeman JS; Watson G; Papelis YE; Lin TC; Tayyab A; Romano RA; Kuhl JG (1995) The iowa driving simulator: An implementation and application overview, SAE Technical Papers . doi: 10.4271/950174
  • Cremer J; Kearney J; Bartelme M; Booth M; Evans D; Romano R (1995) Experiment authoring for virtual driving environments, pp.160-170.
  • Cremer J; Kearney J; Papelis Y; Romano R (1994) The software architecture for scenario control in the Iowa driving simulator, Proceedings of the 4th Computer Generated Forces and Behavioral Representation .
  • Bartelme M; Booth M; Cremer J; Evans D; Kearney J; Romano R (1993) Experiment authoring for virtual driving environments, 1st Eurographics Workshop on Virtual Environments .
  • Romano RA; Stoner JW; Evans DF (1991) Real time vehicle dynamics simulation: Enabling tool for fundamental human factors research, SAE Technical Papers . doi: 10.4271/910237

Conference Presentations

  • Cathey L; Romano RA; Rotenberg S (2011) Tools for Helping Traffic Engineers Realize Their Designs in an Interactive Virtual Driving Environment, Transportation Research Board 90th Annual Meeting .
  • Romano RA; Stoner HA (2007) A quick and effective prototype experimental design and analysis tool, Driving Simulation Conference North America, Iowa, IA .
  • Romano R (2005) Minimum Time Control System for Use in Driving Simulator Washout Algorithms, Driving Simulation Conference, North America 2005 (DSC-NA 2005) .
  • Mollenhauer M; Morrison M; Romano RA (2005) Sensor Functionality for Ground Vehicle Simulation Authoring, IMAGE Conference .
  • Mollenhauer MA; Romano RA; Brumm B (2004) The evaluation of a motion base driving simulator in a CAVE at TACOM, .
  • Romano RA; Bochenek G; Brumm B; Zywiol H (2002) Using a Motion Base to Enhance Virtual Reality Based Research at TARDEC, 23rd Army Science Conference .
  • Romano RA (2002) Integrating a Motion Base into a CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment, IMAGE 2002 .
  • Artz B; Cathey L; Greenberg J; Romano RA; Cheney S (1997) A Hardware in the Loop Real Time Driving Simulator for Advanced Brake System Development, Driving Simulator Conference 1997 .
  • Romano RA (1996) A New Approach to Motion Control Logic for Ground Vehicle Simulators, IMAGE VII Conference .

Search site