A Virtual Gauntlet Of Highway Hazards

To answer thorny questions about driving safely, the University of Iowa's Center for Computer-aided Design has developed a souped-up virtual highway. Get behind the wheel on this strip of tar, and you face a variety of road dangers from ice patches to rear-end collisions, complete with squealing tires and roaring engines. The system is more realistic than others because the software incorporates more variables--including staged collisions, different vehicle models, and varying weather. Since the system runs on a Night Hawk real-time computer made by Harris Computer Systems' Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) division, it reacts instantly to the driver's moves.

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