Title page for ETD etd-02222009-150832

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Fitch, Gregory Malcolm
Author's Email Address gfitch@vt.edu
URN etd-02222009-150832
Title Driver Comprehension of Integrated Collision Avoidance System Alerts Presented through a Haptic Driver Seat
Degree PhD
Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kleiner, Brian M. Committee Chair
Dingus, Thomas A. Committee Member
Hankey, Jonathan M. Committee Member
Winchester, Woodrow W. III Committee Member
  • Vibration
  • Tactile
  • Highway Safety
  • Surface Transportation
  • Haptic Driver Seat
  • Haptic
  • Integrated Collision Avoidance System
  • Crash Alert
  • Collision Avoidance
  • Alert
  • Active Safety
  • Vibrotactile
  • Collision Warning
  • Collision Avoidance System
Date of Defense 2008-12-09
Availability unrestricted
Active safety systems that warn automobile drivers of various types of impending collisions have been developed. How these systems alert drivers when integrated, however, is a crucial component to their effectiveness that hinges on the consideration of human factors. Drivers’ ability to comprehend multiple alerts presented through a haptic driver seat was investigated in this dissertation. Twenty-four participants, balanced for age and gender, drove an instrumented vehicle on a test-track while haptic alerts (vibrations in the driver seat) were generated. Drivers’ ability to transmit the information conveyed by the alerts was investigated through two experiments. The first experiment investigated the effects of increasing the number of potential alerts on drivers’ response performance. The second experiment investigated whether presenting haptic alerts through unique versus common locations in the driver seat affects drivers’ response performance. Younger drivers (between the ages of 18 and 25 years old) were found to efficiently process the increased information contained in the alerts, while older drivers were not as efficient. However, it is foreseeable that older driver performance decrements may be assuaged when a crash context is provided. A third experiment evaluated the haptic driver seat’s ability to alert distracted drivers to an actual crash threat. Drivers that received a haptic seat alert returned their gaze to the forward roadway sooner, removed their foot from the throttle sooner, pressed the brake pedal sooner, and stopped farther away from an inflatable barricade than drivers that did not receive a haptic seat alert. No age or gender effects were found in this experiment. Furthermore, half of the drivers that received the haptic seat alert lifted up on the throttle before returning their eyes to the forward roadway. This suggests these drivers developed an automatic response to the haptic seat alerts through their experience with the previous two experiments. A three-alert haptic seat approach, the intermediate alternative tested, is recommended providing specific design requirements are met.
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