This paper concerns the development and use of a simple model to assess the direct visibility afforded a binocular driver of an automotive passenger vehicle. The model is mathematic in nature and allows a representation of the field of view available for a driver or driver population as well as the “required” visual field for safe driving. The output of the model, a figure-of-merit (FOM), is designed to vary over the range 0 ≤ FOM ≤ 100 where “ideal” or “perfect” visibility is that when the FOM = 100. For 13 1969 vehicles tested, the FOM ranged from 39.42-68.94, with an average value of 56.74. Separate FOM results are provided for the front and rear 180 deg in azimuth.
Such data provide relative measures of “good” visibility for the vehicles considered. Of greater importance is that the model, once refined and properly extended, can yield quantitative visibility standards for automobiles. With modification, it can be made to include trucks, buses, and visual aids such as rearview mirrors.