Browse Publications Technical Papers 1999-01-0898

Development of an Experimental Tool for Improving the Selection Process for Car Control Adaptations for the Disabled 1999-01-0898

In Spain, one of the major problems when selecting vehicle control adaptations for the disabled is the total absence of regulations, or technical recommendations, which govern the design and assembly of the various devices available. An added problem is that traffic administrations are often unaware of the state-of-the-art of the technical aids which are now available - and how these aids are best matched to each disability. Under these circumstances, it is easy to understand the large number of difficulties which many disabled people must overcome before obtaining a driving license. This article shows an experimental tool based on the driving simulator-evaluator (SEMAV Project) developed at the Automobile Laboratory of the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain. This simulator-evaluator allows the optimal selection of the most adequate control adaptations - depending on the disability and the vehicle. It also allows an individual and objective evaluation of the disabled person's aptitude to drive under different simulated traffic conditions. Additionally, the simulator-evaluator can: measure the force applied to the adapted controls; measure the reaction-time to different external stimuli; define the best ergonomic of the driving position; and study other aspects that affect driving - such as fatigue and stress. The results of the research have been experimentally validated with a group of disabled drivers from the Valencian region. These tests have established the value of the equipment and helped to define the improvements that can be introduced to the entire process of obtaining a driving license. These results will be used as the basis for developing new Spanish regulations which will govern the process of selecting the best control adaptations for each user in a more specific, and above all, more objective, manner.


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