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Driver Preferences of Steering Characteristics
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering.
2007 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The future of vehicle steering systems lies within by-wire technology. With by-wire technology mechanical or hydraulic systems are replaced by electronic systems. Removal of the steering column and possibly other linkage and gears yields vast potential of further improvement of performance, comfort and safety. Steer-by-wire technology also enables the manufacturer to tailor the steering feel to better suit the individual drivers’ need and preference. Since a driver gains critical information about the vehicle from feedback through the steering wheel, steering feel will play a very important part in consumer acceptance of steer-by-wire systems. It will also be possible to customize steering characteristics to the individual driver.

This thesis presents a methodology for investigating steering characteristics through analysis of simulator experiments and to find the impact of specific steering characteristics on drivers of varying skill. There are many key aspects to consider when designing simulator experiments. A validated vehicle model is required. Evaluation criteria need to be well defined as well as concise and simple. The utilized scenario has to be able to capture the selected evaluation criteria. Recruitment of test subjects should represent the target population. How to utilize the available time in the simulator most effectively and how to analyze the results are also important. In this work three studies are performed. Paper A investigates how steering gear ratio and steering wheel effort of a passenger car affect preferences of high and low mileage drivers. Paper B is an extended study of Paper A, where the resolution is higher, speed dependence is investigated and performance of the drivers is also evaluated. In Paper C the impact of four important steering system characteristics on driver performance and preference is evaluated.

The major conclusions drawn from this work are that variation of steering gear ratio has considerable impact on perceived steering feel and manoeuvrability as well as on driver performance. Variation in steering wheel effort affect perceived steering feel and stability, but no significant influence is detected in perceived manoeuvrability or driver performance. There are distinguishable differences in preferences of the investigated evaluation criteria between driver categories of varying skill. However, general trends of the preferences for the categories are fairly similar. Low skilled drivers prefer lower effort and higher ratio than high skilled drivers, especially at the highest investigated speed, 100 km/h.

The developed methodology for performing simulator experiments to evaluate steering characteristics has proven satisfactory through findings of three different studies. This work also shows that there are several important steering characteristics that need to be considered when designing steering systems, particularly steering systems with by-wire applications and especially considering drivers of varying skill.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2007. , vii, 34 p.
Series
Trita-AVE, ISSN 1651-7660 ; 2007:66
Keyword [en]
Driver preferences, Steering characteristics, Steering systems, Driving simulator experiments
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4525ISBN: 978-91-7178-789-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4525DiVA: diva2:12677
Presentation
2007-11-09, E32, KTH, Osquarsbacke 2, Stockholm, 10:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101102Available from: 2007-11-09 Created: 2007-11-09 Last updated: 2010-11-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Driver preferences of steering gear ratio and steering wheel effort: A driving simulator study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Driver preferences of steering gear ratio and steering wheel effort: A driving simulator study
2006 (English)In: Proceedings of the FISITA World Automotive Congress, Yokohama, Japan 2006., 2006Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When driving an automobile, the driver has to correct the course as a result of road curvature and external disturbances. In order to make the vehicle both controllable and comfortable to drive, it is important that the steering system is designed with different drivers in mind. In this work, driver preferences of steering system characteristics is investigated by comparing standard steering wheel settings with unconventional steering gear ratio and steering wheel effort. The investigation is made using 18 test subjects in a moving base driving simulator. The evaluation includes two scenarios. In the first scenario the driver is overtaking a bus at 110 km/h when meeting traffic in the opposite lane. In the second scenario the driver is doing a manoeuvre by following a cone track at 55 km/h. To investigate if there are differences in preference of drivers with varying experience of driving, the drivers are chosen to either be low or high mileage drivers. People that drive less than 5,000 km/year are considered to be low mileage drivers, and people that drive more than 25,000 km/year are considered to be high mileage drivers.

The results show that original settings of a typical passenger car, which served as reference, prove to display favourable characteristics compared to the unconventional settings investigated. However, there might be settings within the investigated intervals that can be considered superior. A distinct trend in the results is that increasing effort will lead to increased perceived stability, independent of ratio. High mileage drivers find the setting with low ratio and reference effort to possess better qualities than the reference when evaluating the attributes steering wheel force and response and only slightly less favourable properties than the reference when evaluating the attribute stability. High mileage drivers display a more distinct opinion and a higher sensitivity when evaluating the attributes. Despite the differing setup of the scenarios, many similarities can be observed when studying the results. Even though there are similarities in the results both between the scenarios and the categories of drivers, a study of the individual test subjects´ preferences reveal that several drivers prefer other settings than the reference for the investigated scenarios. Therefore, it is clear that the driver-vehicle system would benefit from tailoring the steering characteristics to the situation and driver.

Keyword
Driving Simulator, Steering Gear Ratio, Steering Wheel Effort, Driver Preferences, Steering System Characteristics
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7597 (URN)
Conference
FISITA World Automotive Congress, Yokohama, Japan, October 22-27 2006
Note
QC 20101102Available from: 2007-11-09 Created: 2007-11-09 Last updated: 2010-11-02Bibliographically approved
2. Impact of Varying Steering Ratio and Effort on Driver Preferences and Performance with Focus on Driving Skill.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Impact of Varying Steering Ratio and Effort on Driver Preferences and Performance with Focus on Driving Skill.
(English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7598 (URN)
Note
QC 20101102Available from: 2007-11-09 Created: 2007-11-09 Last updated: 2010-11-02Bibliographically approved
3. Four Steering Properties' Influence on Drivers' Performance and Preferences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Four Steering Properties' Influence on Drivers' Performance and Preferences
(English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7599 (URN)
Note
QC 20101102Available from: 2007-11-09 Created: 2007-11-09 Last updated: 2010-11-02Bibliographically approved

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