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The Effect of Whole-Body Haptic Feedback on Driver’s Perception in Negotiating a Curve

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It remains uncertain regarding the safety of driving in autonomous vehicles that, after a long, passive control and inattention to the driving situation, how the drivers will be effectively informed to take-over the control in emergency. In particular, the active role of vehicle force feedback on the driver’s risk perception on curves has not been fully explored. To investigate it, the current paper examined the driver’s cognitive and visual responses to the whole-body haptic feedback during curve negotiations. The effects of force feedback on drivers’ responses on curves were investigated in a high-fidelity driving simulator while measuring EEG and visual gaze over ten participants. The preliminary analyses of the first two participants revealed that pupil diameter and fixation time on the curves were significantly longer when the driver received whole-body feedback, compared to none. The findings suggest that whole-body feedback can be used as an effective “advance notification” of hazards.
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The Effect of Whole-Body Haptic Feedback on Driver’s Perception in
Negotiating a Curve
Erfan Pakdamanian1, Lu Feng1,2, Inki Kim1
1 Systems and Information Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
2 Computer Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
It remains uncertain regarding the safety of driving in autonomous vehicles that, after a long,
passive control and inattention to the driving situation, how the drivers will be effectively
informed to take-over the control in emergency. In particular, the active role of vehicle force
feedback on the driver’s risk perception on curves has not been fully explored. To investigate it,
the current paper examined the driver’s cognitive and visual responses to the whole-body haptic
feedback during curve negotiations. The effects of force feedback on drivers’ responses on curves
were investigated in a high-fidelity driving simulator while measuring EEG and visual gaze over
ten participants. The preliminary analyses of the first two participants revealed that pupil diameter
and fixation time on the curves were significantly longer when the driver received whole-body
feedback, compared to none. The findings suggest that whole-body feedback can be used as an
effective advance notification of hazards.
INTRODUCTION
Although the future of car industries will be
dominated by autonomous vehicles and the car will drive
itself, there will still be a need for drivers to take over
the car (Banks & Stanton, 2016). Human intervention is
particularly necessary to prevent tragic accidents when
the autonomous vehicle encounters curves, bad weather
and unpredictable pedestrian behavior (Wright,
Svancara, & Horrey, 2017). Although autonomous
vehicles will overall decrease the physical and mental
workload of drivers by assigning these tasks to an
automated system, human drivers would still play a
critical role in car safety responsibility (Parasuraman and
Wickens, 2008). However, it was been shown that a
sudden alarm and notification to the driver about the
upcoming potential hazards would incur higher stress
and cognitive load (Shah et al., 2015). Once drivers
allow the automated system to control the car, meaning
the driver tends to allocate his attention resources to
non-driving tasks (e.g. video gaming, talking on the
phone etc.), his or her attention will be taken away from
the primary task of driving. In such circumstances, any
simple form of visual, auditory or haptic signals would
not be sufficient to communicate critical information
about the vehicle conditions, only to startle and stress the
driver in emergency (Petermeijer, Cieler, & Winter,
2017).
One approach to cope with the stress from
unexpected alarms is to examine the effects of signals on
potentially safety-compromising situations, and
accustom the driver to it. In this regard, this paper
intends to investigate the effects of whole-body haptic
feedback, delivering haptic cues to drivers’ full body, on
the drivers’ visual perception and cognitive states during
curve negotiation, as an alternative to its counterpart
alarming signals. Assessing the drivers’ cognitive states
can help infer what type of haptic feedback the cars
should provide to mitigate the stress of taking over
during critical moments. In literature, vibrotactile haptic
feedback was shown to enhance the reaction time of
taking control back at life-threatening moments
(Prewett, Elliott, Walvoord, & Coovert, 2012). It noted,
however, that once the drivers were spatially aware, the
vibrotactile directional cue may not be as effective as
visual directional alternatives. Therefore, this study
intends to focus on whole-body haptic feedback to
complement this drawback.
Morrell and Wasilewski (2010) designed and developed
a haptic-feedback seat for traditional vehicles that aimed
to share spatial information, and improve situation
awareness (SA). The drivers were informed about the
location of car-following and close-by vehicles, through
vibrotactile feedback from the seat back in a way that the
closer the car is, the more sensors vibrated. Nonetheless,
on the one hand, evaluating the time in the blind spot
may not be the accurate measurement for the risk
assessment. Nonetheless, on the one hand, evaluating the
time in the blind spot may not be the accurate
measurement for the risk assessment. On the other hand,
as auto industries attend to autonomous technologies,
alert systems need to become adaptive to vehicle speed
and situation but not particularly designed for a specific
scenario.
Petermeijer et al. (2017) designed a vibrotactile
feedback seat that contains static and dynamic vibration
for automated vehicles. The authors aimed to analyze the
accuracy of drivers’ response rate and their reaction time
Not subject to U.S. copyright restrictions. DOI 10.1177/1541931218621005
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Meeting 19
to the requested time for maneuvering. After receiving
tactile stimuli, drivers had to respond accordingly to the
vibration direction by moving to the left or the right.
However, in all the presented scenarios, there was not
any additional warning cue. Furthermore, the
participants reported difficulties in understanding
whether the cue was to their left or right; alarms were
only triggered about one second prior to an event
occurrence, which was shorter than the realistic average
reaction time needed (3.5 sec) for a transition control in
automated vehicles (Melcher, Rauh, Diederichs,
Widlroither, & Bauer, 2015).
This research aims to examine perceptual and
cognitive effects of using whole-body force feedback on
the control responses of the drivers. Through the
controlled experiments in simulation setting, it is
expected that the whole-body force feedback will be
shown its values, in a way that does not only warn the
driver when a takeover is required, but also assists the
driver during the critical phases, including their lack of
SA (shifting of attention) and cognitive processing. In
this regard, we hypothesized that the whole-body haptic
feedback would allow the drivers to be effectively aware
of upcoming curves in a simulated driving environment.
METHODS
The experiment was conducted in a high-fidelity
driving simulator (the 401cr motion system by Force
Dynamics) equipped with three monitors. The simulator
mimics various acceleration dynamics thereby creating a
realistic response upon the driver’s body. The motion-
capable high-fidelity simulator was used with two
configurations: 1) without whole-body motion feedback,
2) with whole-body motion feedback with approximately
18 inches of movement in 360 degrees. This also
allowed six degrees of freedom to replicate the motions
associated with driving in a way that vibration of the seat
serves as an “intelligent messenger”. It ensures human
stays informed of the vehicle safety. The study was
approved by University of Virginia Institutional Review
Board (Protocol # 2017-0296-00).
The speedometer and the RPM gauge is located in
the center of the middle monitor (Figure. 4). Moreover,
the implemented automation system had a longitudinal
capability similar to common ACC systems, which allow
drivers to follow the indicated speed limits as well as
keep the car in the center of the lane. Data were recorded
at a frequency of 100 Hz, including the vehicle’s
position, accelerations and steering wheel angle (they
were not included in the preliminary study and will be
reported in further analysis).
Data acquisition
A wearable eye-tracker glass (Tobii Pro-Glasses 2,
Danderyd, Sweden; Tobii Pro-Glasses 2, 2017) was used
to track the driver’s gaze behavior at a sampling rate of
60 Hz (i.e., 60 gaze data points collected per second for
each eye; 4 eye cameras, H.264 1920x1080 pixels at 25
fps) (Figure 1). The Tobii Pro Glasses 2 eye-tracker is
wireless with live view capability for insights in any
real-world environment. Since the driving simulator and
curves are dynamic scenes, head-mounted eye tracker
was required. Also, it ensures that the participant’s full
and complete range of motions for their head.
A B-Alert X24 system with 24 channels was used
with the sample rate of 256Hz to record the
Electroencephalography (EEG) data (Figure 1). Wireless
EEG signals were sent via Bluetooth to the data
acquisition system. Also, in order to record the electoral
activity of the brain, the sensor strip was placed
according to the 10/20 extended standard.
The sampled data was sent wirelessly to iMotion
(biometric research platform) which allowed collection
of the synchronized EEG and eye-tracker data (Attention
tools, 2016).
Procedure
Two graduate students (both male, 22 and 35 years
old) holding a driver’s license voluntarily participated in
this preliminary study (ten participants equally balanced
between male and female aged between 18 to 40 will be
recruited). None of the participants had visual
impairments, or any other symptoms or diseases that
could compromise their ability to drive.
Once the participant arrived, the relevant
information regarding gender, age and driving
experiences was gathered. Subsequently, participants
were verbally instructed regarding how to use the
devices and simulator as well as their primary task of
driving with their hands on the wheel by the
experimenter. Furthermore, both drivers were told that
they need to keep their speed under 60mph and drive as
they would normally do. The experimenter allowed the
participants to familiarize themselves with the system
with 2-5 mins test drive. Once they showed that they
were comfortable with all the devices and driving the
simulator, there were asked to take 3mins break between
the sessions in order to maximize the concentration level
and minimize fatigue throughout the 18 min session. The
experimenter started the three curve and force-feedback-
free trials as the Baseline session. Afterwards, the
participants drove through the counterbalanced
designated scenario six times (three trials with force
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Meeting 20
feedback and three without). Each scenario took
approximately 3mins, depends on the speed.
Signal Pre-processing
256Hz sampled data was filtered using high and
low band pass filter with a cut-off frequency between 0.5
Hz, to remove DC drift, and 80 Hz respectively to
remove power-line noise and low frequencies separately
(Gheorghe, 2017). Also, a notch filter at 60Hz was used.
EEG data pre-processing initiated by referencing to the
left ear lobe channel as well as applying Fast Fourier
transform (FFT) algorithm to filter the different
frequency band.
To analyze the EEG data, initially the blink artifacts
were removed by using Independent Component
Analysis (ICA) and wavelet analyses were used to
generate a continuous record of theta band by using
Matlab (2017, The MathWorks, Inc., Natick,
Massachusetts, United Statest) and EEGLab toolbox. An
electrode impedance test was performed to ensure proper
conductivity of the electrodes. The impedance level
threshold of 20 was used. Also, the EEG calibration
procedure was implemented before data collection.
RESULTS
Collected data were extracted using iMotion
software. In order to perform a comparison analysis
between three conditions (Baseline, with whole body
force feedback and without), approximately four seconds
before curves was analyzed following the approach
taken by Gheorghe (2017). Each trial consisted of
twenty curves, including simple curves, compound
curves, reverse curves and deviation. However, we were
only interested in simple curves for our preliminary
study.
Figure 1. Experimental set-up for recording EEG and Eye
movement
Analysis of visual attention
iMotion provides the following metric for analyzing
eye movement: Time spent-fixation, fixation duration,
Time to First Fixation (TTFF-F) and pupil diameter
(Table 1). Table 1 summarizes the time spent and
fixation duration on the AOI. In order to identify when
curves as the critical section of the road on the visual
display were fixed, AOI analysis was performed (Figure
4). Comparing the TTFF values (Figure 3) indicates both
participants tended to concentrate slightly more on the
curves at the presence of force feedback which indicates
higher SA. Likewise, when the force feedback was
applied to drivers, pupil diameter was larger approaching
the curves (Table 1). Therefore, the drivers tend to fixed
their gaze on curves significantly higher at the presence
of the whole-body feedback.
The differences between the two types of vibration
patterns including force and none-force feedback was
assessed using t-test. T-test yielded statistically
difference between the force feedback and none in the
dependent variables (t(11) = 4.96, p= 0.002; t(11)
=12.38, p<0.001; t(11) = 3.51, p=0.008, for time spent,
fixation duration, and pupil diameter, respectively).
Analysis of cognitive states
Analyzing three frequencies (Theta, Alpha and Beta)
revealed that the Theta power increases in force feedback
cases. Also, on the beta band, grown power was obtained.
Still, the amount of power increasing on Theta band was
higher, which may indicate the greater drivers’
engagement while using haptic feedback. The findings
represent that the force-feedback could correlate with
higher ability in decision making and ultimately increase
the capability of controlling the vehicle properly at the
time of hazard encounter. It was initially expected to get
Table 1. Mean and Standard Deviation for Metrics of
Eye Movements
Independent Variables
Dependent
Variables
With force
feedback
Without force
feedback
p-value
Time spent (sec)
6.83 (1.92)
4.49 (0.28)
0.002
Fixation duration
(sec)
3.45 (0.89)
3.04 (0.61)
<0.001
Pupil diameter
(px)
35 (9.5)
27 (4.3)
0.008
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Meeting 21
the consistent results with Almahasneh et al. (2014)
findings, however, the topographical map result (Figure
3) indicates that the difference between baseline and both
cases is caused by more activity in corresponding brain
region of the right frontal hemisphere near reaching the
curves. Since most of cognitive activities occur at the
frontal lobe (Lin et al., 2011) the findings are aligned with
the role of frontal lobe in decision making and attention
(Burgess, Alderman, Volle, Benoit, & Gilbert, 2009). The
topographical analysis extracted from the scalp above the
sensorymotor cortex indicates more activity on the
bipolar channels C3 and C4 (Figure 3). Electrode C4
represents the highest activation throughout the six curves
which may cause by Motor execution phase of driving.
Slightly higher activation in motor cortex at the presence
of whole-body haptic feedback supports an enhancement
to drivers’ engagement of required cognitive tasks of
braking and steering control (Saha, Konar, Nagar, 2017).
However, band frequency modulation based on ERP will
be analyzed at the critical time intervals of curve
negotiation. Our intent is to analyze the variability of
frequency bands inside some temporal windows around
200 ms and 400 ms of latency.
Figure 2. Topographical analysis of six simple curves. The first
row represents the distribution of difference between baseline
and scenarios at the absence of force feedback (the first row) and
the at the presence of it (the second row)
Figure 3. Eye- tracking results for fixation behaviors over
different feedback condition
Figure 4. AOI and driver’s view
DISCUSSION
The main differences between the two types of
feedback found in this study is containing driver’s visual
responses. Fixed duration and pupil diameters found
significantly higher while driving with haptic feedback
in this preliminary study which could be due to the
higher cognitive engagement. If it was the case, finding
higher power in Theta band in frontal lobe is due to high
vibration of system during haptic feedback activation
and it is not relevant to the type of feedback. Therefore,
the findings could be supported by the results that the
high-fidelity driving simulator that can simulate various
scenarios with high validity improvement of drivers’
performance engages driver better (Groeger & Banks,
2007).
This preliminary study confirms the possibility of
EEG usage to alarm drivers properly within less than
few seconds, once the system recognizes driver’s
cognitive stage and driving environment. We expect that
the need for more number of channels for prediction of
performance and drivers’ cognitive state prior to hazard
with other EEG measurements (e.g. ERP) would help us
to develop a safer whole-body feedback to reduce
cognitive workload and stress level of the driver, thereby
enhance their control ability.
In the future, we will design and analyze a haptic
force feedback which could communicate with drivers
through the seat and serves as an “intelligent messenger”
that ensures human stays informed of the vehicle safety
as well as driving environment which could play the role
of “advance notification”. In that regards, we will
validate the preliminary findings with further analysis of
power variation in each frequency within temporal
duration as well as Event Related Potential (ERP). It
could assist us to identify the perceptual operations of
drivers on curves.
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Meeting 22
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Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Meeting 23
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In this paper, we describe the design and evaluation of a vibrotactile driver's seat that is used to display spatial information during two driving tasks. Many studies have recently shown the effectiveness of haptic and vibrotactile feedback to augment collision warning systems in automobiles. Simultaneously, driver distraction and situational awareness have been identified as significant safety issues in all areas of transportation. We hypothesize that vibrotactile feedback may be used to enhance and improve spatial awareness while driving if it is used continuously and naturally so that it is part of the normal operation of the automobile. We designed a tactile feedback seat from low cost pager motors and characterized the spatial resolution of the seat. We then developed a driving simulation in which the location of vehicles behind and next to the driver's vehicle is communicated through vibrotactile feedback from the seat back. The effectiveness of the seat was evaluated in two driving tasks designated commuting and racing. In the commuting exercise, the test subjects (N=12) maintained a target speed while simultaneously avoiding other vehicles and performing a secondary task. A "near-miss" blind spot recording method was used to evaluate the effect of the feedback in reducing hazard exposure. In the racing exercise, the test subjects (N=10) raced other virtual competitors while using the feedback to maintain awareness of other vehicles in close proximity. Effectiveness was measured by comparing the accumulated time that cars were blocked behind the driver's car. Three feedback conditions were tested: only vibrotactile feedback, rear view mirror and vibrotactile feedback, rear view mirror only. Our preliminary results showed that vibrotactile feedback used in conjunction with the rear view mirror improved performance over using just the rear view mirror. We discuss some of the challenges of creating driving simulations and evaluation metrics that are both rea- - listic and repeatable.
Effects of alarm modality and alarm reliability on workload, trust, and driving performance
  • S J Shah
  • J P Bliss
  • E T Chancey
  • J Christopher Brill
Shah, S. J., Bliss, J. P., Chancey, E. T., & Christopher Brill, J. (2015). Effects of alarm modality and alarm reliability on workload, trust, and driving performance. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2015-January(2008), 1535-1539.