Most simulator operations can be controlled using buttons and sliders on the main control panel.
Selections of towing vehicle, trailer and scene are made using the VEHICLES AND SCENES button. This opens up an image gallery showing all of the currently available models.
Repeatedly pressing the MANOEUVRE button switches between all the manoeuvres available for the selected scene. The name of the selected manoeuvre is displayed by the button - eg RIGHT TURN MANOEUVRE.
Vehicle speed is controlled using the REVERSE/FORWARD slider
You can click anywhere on the slider to adjust the speed by small, fixed amounts, or click and drag the centre button to make smooth changes
Speed can also be controlled by using the up/down arrow keys on the keyboard
At any time, you can return to the start of the manoeuvre by pressing the GO TO START button. You can also press the Enter key on your keyboard to do this.
Steering is controlled using the LEFT/RIGHT slider
Click anywhere on the slider to adjust the steering by small, fixed amounts, or click and drag the centre button to make smooth changes
It is also possible to steer by clicking the left mouse button anywhere in the scene and dragging left and right. This method gives the most sensitive control.
If you prefer, you can also steer by using the left/right arrow keys on the keyboard.
Pressing the DRIVING MODE button will switch between each of the available modes.
In AUTOPILOT MODE, steering is controlled by the simulator. Simply set the vehicles moving in reverse and the simulator will demonstrate how to complete the manoeuvre.
A visual indicator below the control panel shows how much right or left steering is being applied.
In GUIDANCE MODE, the suggested steering position is shown in the indicator and it's up to you to try to match it using the steering controls.
In NORMAL MODE you need to use your own judgement, although there are guide rails displayed on the ground which show the suggested approach route.
You can hide the guide rails at any time using the GUIDES button.
You can also increase the level of difficulty using the DIFFICULTY button
If level 2 is selected, the guide rails are hidden and the vehicles are moved to a more challenging start position.
From here you can drive to the start of your own preferred approach route.
Several simulator views are available, selected by pressing the buttons on the views control panel
The OBSERVER VIEW is useful when looking at autopilot demonstrations. You can move your view point around the scene by clicking the right mouse button on the display and then dragging left or right.
The mirror views gives a more realistic driver's-eye view of the manoeuvre. You can switch between left and right reversing mirrors by pressing the M key on your keyboard or by pressing the LEFT MIRROR or RIGHT MIRROR buttons.
If the AUTO MIRROR feature is enabled, the simulator will automatically try to select the most useful mirror view at any given point in the manoeuvre.
There is also a forward-looking FRONT WINDOW view. This can be selected by pressing the W key on your keyboard or pressing the FRONT WINDOW button.
If you prefer, you can use the MULTI VIEW feature, which combines all mirror and window views on a single screen.
The BIRD'S-EYE VIEW gives a simple view from above which clearly shows the wheel positions and angles of both vehicles.
The horizontal layout of the views control panel can be switched to a vertical one by pressing the keyboard function key F5. This layout may be more approriate for use on touch-screen devices.
All vehicle and scene models are stored in an online library. Whenever a model is added or updated, the latest version is automatically downloaded to your computer next time the program starts.
The vehicle models are based on real-world vehicles in terms of approximate size, shape and turning characteristics. The identity of these vehicles is displayed on the model gallery panel, which can be viewed by pressing the VEHICLES AND SCENES button..
This feature records your route as you carry out a reversing manoeuvre.
Recording begins automatically when you start reversing and stops when the manoeuvre is successfully completed. If you stop or drive forwards, the recording is paused automatically.
When the recording is complete you can see an analysis of how well you did, including a score based on factors such as how closely you managed to follow the suggested approach route and how well you controlled your steering.
The analysis page also displays an interactive diagram of your route overlaid on the suggested route.
You can view any of your previous recordings to allow you to see your progress. A High Scores table is also maintained online so you can see how your scores compare to others!
Here is a summary of which key presses are recognised and what they do:
|Up-arrow||Increase forward speed/ Decrease reverse speed|
|Down-arrow||Increase reverse speed/ Decrease forward speed|
|M||Switch between left and right reversing mirror views|
|W||Switch to forward view|
In this driving mode, left/right steering and forward speed controls are disabled - only reverse movement may be selected.
Returning the vehicles to the start of the manoeuvre can always be done using the GO TO START button However, if you want to drive the vehicles forward to a different starting position you must first select normal (or guidance) mode.
The best way to steer the towing vehicle in this mode (and normal mode) is by using the mouse. Click and hold the left mouse-button and drag left or right across the screen. Other methods may also be used but the mouse provides the most responsive control where rapid changes in steering are required.
Suggested steering positions shown in the visual indicator may fluctuate slightly, due to the fact they are being calculated in real-time, so don't be tempted to try to match them too precisely!
Select a low reverse speed when manoeuvring. It's much easier to spot when steering changes are required and to make them before things begin to go wrong.
Although no steering instructions are given here, guide rails drawn on the ground can be followed to help achieve a suitable approach route. Try to keep the trailer wheels within these rails as you complete the manoeuvre. Once you have mastered that, try hiding the guide rails.
For even more of challenge, try selecting difficulty level 2 which will hide the guide rails and also change the operation of the GO TO START button (see below).
You can quickly switch between left and right reversing mirror views while manoeuvring, to check both sides of the trailer. Do this by pressing the M key on the keyboard.
Alternatively, select the auto mirror feature. The simulator will then automatically try to select the most useful mirror view at any given point in the manoeuvre. This is usually the one where the trailer is most clearly visible in the mirror. However, this can easily change from one mirror to the other during the manoeuvre - especially if it involves an S-shaped turn.
The simulator will also automatically switch briefly to the other mirror view every few seconds. This is intended to emulate the real-world actions of a driver who focuses attention on one mirror but occasionally glances at the other.
Pressing the W key will give you a forward view - useful for driving to a new starting position.
If you prefer to see both mirror views and the front view together, use the multi-view option.
To maintain a stable turn, try to use small steering adjustments to ensure the trailer does not move left or right too much in the mirror views.
When the GO TO START button is pressed, the vehicles are moved to a pre-determined position in the scene. This position depends upon the difficulty level setting as follows:
Level 1: At the start of the currently selected approach route. Reversing can begin immediately.
Level 2: A location away from the start of the selected route. From here you must first align the vehicles yourself before beginning the reversing manoeuvre.
If you have selected one of the driver views, the most appropriate initial view will be selected for you when you press the GO TO START button. This also depends upon difficulty level setting:
Level 1: Right or Left Reversing Mirror View, depending upon which approach route is selected.
Level 2: Front Window View, to allow the vehicles to be driven forward to a suitable start point.
To avoid confusion, a clear visual indication is given showing which driver view has been selected.
An amber warning bar will appear at the bottom of the screen if you reach a point in the manouevre where a jack-knife condition is approaching. At this point, the jack-knife will be impossible to avoid if you continue to reverse, regardless of steering adjustments.
To recover, you must must first drive forwards to straighten the coupling before resuming the reversing manoeuvre.
A red warning bar indicates that the jack-knife condition has been reached.
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