Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Rajiv Dubey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kathryn De Laurentis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Sundarrao, M.S.

Committee Member

Linda Van Roosmalen, Ph.D.


AEVIT, SSI, Adaptive driving equipment, Simulator, Human interface


The current study examined specific aspects of human factors involved in driving a vehicle with a modified Drive-by-Wire (DBW) control system. A DBW system is an electro-mechanical system which controls the primary operations of a vehicle such as steering, acceleration, and braking using a controller such as a joystick. Designing a human interface system for a DBW system involves three main phases in the human factors design process namely user centric/ergonomic design conception, building a prototype and validating the prototype based on human factor considerations. The main objective and focus of this research is to conceptualize a more ergonomic DBW control interface based on human participant evaluations completed in a virtual reality driving simulator equipped with DBW controls. A secondary consideration is the gathering of data for the preparation of a future driver training course.

The driving characteristics of 30 participants consisting of 3 different groups, ages 18-64, ages 65+,and people with disabilities were evaluated while driving with three different controllers: a joystick, a reduced effort steering wheel plus gas-brake lever combination (GB), and conventional vehicle controls (no Drive-by-Wire or NDBW), which included foot pedals and a steering wheel. The participants were required to drive through different scenarios such as mountain, city, and highway roads, in order to obtain user capabilities related to the steering, accelerating, braking, and compliance with traffic rules.

To examine the steering lane data obtained from the simulator, percent error in lane deviation was calculated and presented against time. The results indicated that the joystick was the most difficult to drive on a straight road. The GB controller was easier to control on straight path maneuvers than the joystick, but it had an over-steering tendency at curves while the joystick was better at curves. To examine group differences of different variables, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed. Results showed that lane position variation, reaction time to brake, reaction distance and stopping distance had significance among variables such as maximum vehicle speed, improper space cushions, and missed turn signals, etc.

Understanding the above characteristics can largely help in the development of a DBW interface system that heavily weighs human factors.