National Advanced Driving Simulator

AIMD/RCED-94-303R: Published: Sep 16, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the University of Iowa's contribution of software to the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) project, focusing on: (1) whether the software's utility to NADS could be fairly and accurately determined prior to completion of NADS design contracts; (2) the technical risks of committing to the software before the design contracts are completed; and (3) the basis for and appropriateness of the software's $3.7-million estimated cost. GAO noted that: (1) the University's existing driving simulator software is used by a variety of public and private-sector clients; (2) NADS design contractors cannot fully evaluate the software because the University has not provided the contractors with all requested information on software components; (3) the University does not plan to provide the software information before the end of phase I of the design contracts in February 1995 because it has to do additional work on its software documentation; (4) the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) belief that most of the Iowa software will be used for NADS is not based on a competent evaluation of the software; (5) NHTSA has required that NADS design contractors evaluate its utility to NADS; (6) using proven existing software lessens the technical risks associated with developing new software; and (7) the software's $3.7-million estimated cost was calculated using a generally accepted software cost estimation model and is reasonable.

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