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Technical Paper

Understanding the Automotive Pedal Usage and Foot Movement Characteristics of Older Drivers

This study was driven by the prevalence of older drivers’ overrepresentation in crashes caused by pedal application errors. Previous research has shown tasks prone to pedal errors, which include emergency braking, parking lot maneuvers and reaching out of the driver’s window. However, pedal usage characteristics of older drivers while performing on-road driving tasks are unknown. The objective of this research was to understand pedal usage characteristics of older drivers during on-road driving tasks in an instrumented vehicle. Twenty-six drivers over the age of 60 completed 10 stopping tasks as the baseline for stopping performance, a startle-braking task, two forward parking tasks and two reaching out of the vehicle tasks. Results for this instrumented vehicle study showed significantly positive correlations between stature and the percent of foot pivoting, and between shoe length and percent of foot pivoting in the baseline stopping tasks.
Technical Paper

Effects of Tire and Vehicle Design Characteristics on Rollover of Tractor Semi-Trailers

Understanding the effects of tire and vehicle properties on the rollover propensity of tractor semi-trailer trucks is essential. The major objective of the project described by this paper was to develop a simplified computational tool that can be used to understand and predict the effects of various tire characteristics and truck design parameters on rollover under steady cornering and non-tripped conditions. In particular, this tool may be used to help understand the basic mechanisms governing rollover propensity of trucks equipped with New Generation Wide Single tires as contrasted with conventional tires. Effects of tire flexibility, roll-compliant suspensions, fifth - wheel lash and nonlinear suspension characteristics are included in the model and are presented below. Design parameter data used as input to the model were obtained from Michelin Americas Research and Development Corporation.
Technical Paper

Assessment of a Safe Driving Program for Novice Operators

A safe driver program has been established through a public-private partnership. This program targets novice drivers and uses a combination of classroom and in-vehicle training exercises to address critical driver errors known to lead to crashes. Students participate in four modules: braking to learn proper stopping technique, obstacle avoidance / reaction time to facilitate proper lane selection and collision avoidance, tailgating to learn about following distances, and loss of control to react appropriately when a vehicle is about to become laterally unstable. Knowledge pre and posttests are also administered at the start and end of the program. Students' in-vehicle driving performance are evaluated by instructors as well as recorded by onboard data acquisition units. The data has been evaluated with objective and subjective grading rubrics. The 70 participants in three classes used as a case study achieved an average skill score of 83.93/100.
Journal Article

Vehicle Road Runoff and Return - Effect of Limited Steering Intervention

Vehicle safety remains a significant concern for consumers, government agencies, and automotive manufacturers. One critical type of vehicle accident results from the right or left side tires leaving the road surface and then returning abruptly due to large steering wheel inputs (road runoff and return). A subset of runoff road crashes that involve a steep hard shoulder has been labeled shoulder induced accidents. In this paper, a limited authority real time steering controller has been developed to mitigate shoulder induced accidents. A Kalman Filter based tire cornering stiffness estimation technique has been coupled with a feedback controller and driver intention module to create a safer driving solution without excessive intervention. In numerical studies, lateral vehicle motion improvements of 30% were realized for steering intervention. Specifically, the vehicle crossed the centerline after 1.0 second in the baseline case versus 1.3 seconds with steering assistance at 60 kph.