Evaluation of Alternative Steering Devices with Adjustable Haptic Feedback for Semi-Autonomous and Autonomous Vehicles 2018-01-0572
Emerging autonomous driving technologies, with emergency navigating capabilities, necessitates innovative vehicle steering methods for operators during unanticipated scenarios. A reconfigurable “plug and play” steering system paradigm enables lateral control from any seating position in the vehicle’s interior. When required, drivers may access a stowed steering input device, establish communications with the vehicle steering subsystem, and provide direct wheel commands. Accordingly, the provision of haptic steering cues and lane keeping assistance to navigate roadways will be helpful. In this study, various steering devices have been investigated which offer reconfigurability and haptic feedback to create a flexible driving environment. A joystick and a robotic arm that offer multiple degrees of freedom were compared to a conventional steering wheel. To evaluate the concept, human test subjects interacted with the experimental system featuring a driving simulator with target hardware, and completed post-test questionnaires. Based on the data collected, drivers’ lane keeping performance was superior using a haptic robotic arm with haptic feedback to the joystick and steering wheel with an improvement of up to 70.18% during extreme maneuvers. Haptic feedback, with a lane keeping algorithm, can assist the operator in steering the vehicle given the likely deterioration of driving skills when autonomous vehicles become prevalent.