ABSTRACT

Driver workload is of growing interest in the automotive society, since the number of in-vehicle technologies and vehicles on the road grows. Operational and environmental factors impact the driver's ability to negotiate a chosen course and place heavy demands on the driver in terms of mental and physical capacity. A key component of the driver's operating environment is the vehicle. In this research, the impact of various tire configurations, for example, dual and wide based, for a Class 8 tractor–semitrailer combination vehicle on driver workload performance is presented. Driver workload performance is assessed during four maneuvers: 60 m radius steady state circle, 120 m radius steady state circle, road course, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization emergency lane change maneuver. Surface electromyography (sEMG) electrodes were placed on the left and right wrist flexors (flexor carpi ulnaris) and right wrist extensors (extensor carpi ulnaris) in order to capture muscle activity during all maneuvers. Peak and integrated values of sEMG are calculated to obtain metrics of driver workload. Results of the study show distinct separation of muscle activity for each tire configuration. Differences in driving techniques were also identified based on the dominant hand of the driver and orientation of the maneuver, that is, clockwise or counterclockwise.

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