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Roll rate thresholds in driving simulation

In: Seeing and Perceiving
Authors:
Alessandro NestiMax Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, DE

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Michael Barnett-CowanMax Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, DE

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Heinrich H. BülthoffMax Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, DE

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Paolo PrettoMax Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, DE

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The restricted operational space of dynamic driving simulators requires the implementation of motion cueing algorithms that tilt the simulator cabin to reproduce sustained accelerations. In order to avoid conflicting inertial cues, the tilt rate is limited below drivers’ perceptual thresholds, which are typically derived from the results of classical vestibular research, where additional sensory cues to self-motion are removed. These limits might be too conservative for an ecological driving simulation, which provides a variety of complex visual and vestibular cues as well as demands of attention which vary with task difficulty. We measured roll rate detection threshold in active driving simulation, where visual and vestibular stimuli are provided as well as increased cognitive load from the driving task. Here thresholds during active driving are compared with tilt rate detection thresholds found in the literature (passive thresholds) to assess the effect of the driving task. In a second experiment, these thresholds (active versus passive) are related to driving preferences in a slalom driving course in order to determine which roll rate values are most appropriate for driving simulators so as to present the most realistic driving experience. The results show that detection threshold for roll in an active driving task is significantly higher than the limits currently used in motion cueing algorithms, suggesting that higher tilt limits can be successfully implemented to better optimize simulator operational space. Supra-threshold roll rates in the slalom task are also rated as more realistic. Overall, our findings indicate that increasing task complexity in driving simulation can decrease motion sensitivity allowing for further expansion of the virtual workspace environment.

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