Vibrotactile pedals : provision of haptic feedback to support economical driving

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Birrell, Stewart A. ; Young, Mark S. ; Weldon, Alex M. (2013)

The use of haptic feedback is currently an underused modality in the driving environment, especially with respect to vehicle manufacturers. This exploratory study evaluates the effects of a vibrotactile (or haptic) accelerator pedal on car driving performance and perceived workload using a driving simulator. A stimulus was triggered when the driver exceeded a 50% throttle threshold, past which is deemed excessive for economical driving. Results showed significant decreases in mean acceleration values, and maximum and excess throttle use when the haptic pedal was active as compared to a baseline condition. As well as the positive changes to driver behaviour, subjective workload decreased when driving with the haptic pedal as compared to when drivers were simply asked to drive economically. The literature suggests that the haptic processing channel offers a largely untapped resource in the driving environment, and could provide information without overloading the other attentional resource pools used in driving.
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