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Technical Paper

Driver Perceptual Adaptation to Nonplanar Rearview Mirrors

This study examined perceptual adaptation to nonplanar (spherical convex and aspheric) rearview mirrors. Subjects made magnitude estimates of the distance to a car seen in a rearview mirror. Three different mirrors were used: plane, aspheric (with a large spherical section having a radius of 1400 mm), and simple convex (with a radius of 1000 mm). Previous research relevant to perceptual adaptation to nonplanar mirrors was reviewed. It was argued that, in spite of some cases of explicit interest in the process of learning to use nonplanar mirrors, previous research has not adequately addressed the possibility of perceptual adaptation. The present experiment involved three phases: (1) a pretest phase in which subjects made distance judgments but received no feedback, (2) a training phase in which they made judgments and did receive feedback, and (3) a posttest phase with the same procedure as the pretest phase.
Technical Paper

Some Effects of Lumbar Support Contour on Driver Seated Posture

An appropriately contoured lumbar support is widely regarded as an essential component of a comfortable auto seat. A frequently stated objective for a lumbar support is to maintain the sitter's lumbar spine in a slightly extended, or lordotic, posture. Although sitters have been observed to sit with substantial lordosis in some short-duration testing, long-term postural interaction with a lumbar support has not been documented quantitatively in the automotive environment. A laboratory study was conducted to investigate driver posture with three seatback contours. Subjects† from four anthropometric groups operated an interactive laboratory driving simulator for one-hour trials. Posture data were collected by means of a sonic digitizing system. The data identify driver-selected postures over time for three lumbar support contours. An increase of 25 mm in the lumbar support prominence from a flat contour did not substantially change lumbar spine posture.
Technical Paper

Characterizing the Road-Damaging Dynamics of Truck Tandem Suspensions

The road damage caused by heavy trucks is accentuated by the dynamic loads excited by roughness in the road. Simulation models of trucks are used to predict dynamic wheel loads, but special models are required for tandem suspensions. Parameter values to characterize tandem suspension systems can be measured quasi-statically on a suspension measurement facility, but it is not known how well they fit dynamic models. The dynamic behavior of leaf-spring and air-spring tandem suspensions were measured on a hydraulic road simulator using remote parameter characterization techniques. The road simulator tests were duplicated with computer simulations of these suspensions based on quasi-static parameter measurements to compare dynamic load performance. In the case of the walking-beam suspension, simulated performance on the road was compared to experimental test data to evaluate the ability of the walking-beam model to predict dynamic load.
Technical Paper

Methods for Laboratory Investigation of Airbag-Induced Thermal Skin Burns

Two new techniques for investigating the thermal skin-burn potential of airbags are presented. A reduced-volume airbag test procedure has been developed to obtain airbag pressures that are representative of a dynamic ridedown event during a static deployment. Temperature and heat flux measurements made with this procedure can be used to predict airbag thermal burn potential. Measurements from the reduced-volume procedure are complemented by data obtained using two gas-jet simulators, called heatguns. Gas is vented in controlled bursts from a large, heated, pressurized tank of gas onto a target surface. Heat flux measurements on the target surface have been used to develop quantitative models of the relationships between gas jet characteristics and burn potential.
Technical Paper

Emulating the Behavior of Truck Drivers in the Longitudinal Control of Headway

This paper describes control system and psychological concepts enabling the development of a simulation model suitable for use in emulating driver performance in situations involving the longitudinal control of the distance and headway-time to a preceding vehicle. The developed model has mathematical expressions and relationships pertaining to the driver's skill in operating the brake and accelerator (“inverse dynamics”) and the driver's perceptual and decision-making capabilities (“desired dynamics”). Simulation results for driving situations involving braking and accelerating are presented to aid in understanding the research work.
Technical Paper

Standing Reach Envelopes Incorporating Anthropometric Variance and Postural Cost

Standing reach envelopes are important tools for the design of industrial and vehicle environments. Previous work in this area has focussed on manikin-based (where a few manikins are used to simulate individuals reaching within the region of interest) and population-based (where data are gathered on many individuals reaching in a constrained environment) approaches. Each of these methods has merits and shortfalls. The current work bridges the manikin- and population-based approaches to assessing reach by creating population models using kinematic simulation techniques driven by anthropometric data. The approach takes into account body dimensions, balance, and postural cost to create continuous models that can be used to assess designs with respect to both maximal and submaximal reaches. Cost is quantified as the degree to which the torso is involved in the reach, since the inclination of the torso is a good measure of lower-back load and may be related to subjective reach difficulty.
Technical Paper

Practical Aspects of Prototyping Instrument Clusters

This paper describes an ongoing effort to develop computer-simulated instrumentation for the UMTRI Driver Interface Research Simulator. The speedometer, tachometer, engine and fuel gauges, along with warning lights are back projected onto a screen in front of the driver. The image is generated by a Macintosh running LabVIEW. Simulated instrumentation (instead of a production cluster) was provided so that new display designs can be rapidly generated and tested. This paper addresses the requirements for prototyping software, the advantages and disadvantages of the packages available, and the UMTRI implementation of the software, and its incorporation into the driving simulator.