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IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern B Cybern. 2011 Oct;41(5):1239-49. doi: 10.1109/TSMCB.2011.2120606. Epub 2011 Apr 29.

Measuring neuromuscular control dynamics during car following with continuous haptic feedback.

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Department of BioMechanical Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE), Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.


In previous research, a driver support system that uses continuous haptic feedback on the gas pedal to inform drivers of the separation to the lead vehicle was developed. Although haptic feedback has been previously shown to be beneficial, the influence of the underlying biomechanical properties of the driver on the effectiveness of haptic feedback is largely unknown. The goal of this paper is to experimentally determine the biomechanical properties of the ankle-foot complex (i.e., the admittance) while performing a car-following task, thereby separating driver responses to visual feedback from those to designed haptic feedback. An experiment was conducted in a simplified fixed-base driving simulator, where ten participants were instructed to follow a lead vehicle, with and without the support of haptic feedback. During the experiment, the lead vehicle velocity was perturbed, and small stochastic torque perturbations were applied to the pedal. Both perturbations were separated in the frequency domain to allow the simultaneous estimation of frequency response functions of both the car-following control behavior and the biomechanical admittance. For comparison to previous experiments, the admittance was also estimated during three classical motion control tasks (resist forces, relax, and give way to forces). The main experimental hypotheses were that, first, the haptic feedback would encourage drivers to adopt a "give way to force task," resulting in larger admittance compared with other tasks and, second, drivers needed less control effort to realize the same car-following performance. Time- and frequency-domain analyses provided evidence for both hypotheses. The developed methodology allows quantification of the range of admittances that a limb can adopt during vehicle control or while performing a variety of motion control tasks. It thereby allows detailed computational driver modeling and provides valuable information on how to design and evaluate continuous haptic feedback systems.

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