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Open Access Collaborative Virtual Reality Environment for a Real-time Emergency Evacuation of a Nightclub Disaster

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The increased replication of human behavior with virtual agents and proxies in a multi-user or collaborated virtual reality environment (CVE) has influenced the eruption of scholastic research and training. The capabilities of the user experience for emergency response and training in emergency and catastrophic situations may be highly influenced by the use of computer bots, avatar, and virtual agents. Our contribution and proposal for the concerted collaborated Virtual Reality nightclub environment consequently warrants the flexibility to run manifold scenarios and evacuation drills in reaction to emergency and disaster preparedness. Modeling such an environment is very essential because it helps emulate the emergencies we experience in our routine lives and provide a learning platform towards the preparation of extreme events. The results of the user study to measure presence in the VE using presence questionnaire (PQ) are discussed in detail, and it was found that there is a consistent positive relation between presence and task performance in VEs. The results further suggest that most users feel that this application could be a good tool for education and training purposes.
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Keywords: agent-based simulation; artificial intelligence; crowd behavior; decision making; emergency evacuation; modeling; virtual reality; visualization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 13, 2019

This article was made available online on April 2, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Collaborative virtual reality environment for a real-time emergency evacuation of a nightclub disaster".

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