José S. Solaz Sanahuja, Elisa Signes i Pérez, José Laparra-Hernández
Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) Universitat Politècnica de València (Edificio 9C) Camino de Vera s/n (E-46022) Valencia (Spain)
The Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) has recently expanded its facilities by renovating its Automotive Simulation Laboratory thanks to a new dynamic driving simulator (HAV - Human Autonomous Vehicle) that allows us to emulate highly realistic environments by adding movement, incorporating virtual reality environments and integrating driver/passenger sensorization to evaluate the way of driving and to measure physiological parameters (such as breathing rate, heart rate or the direction of the gaze) that make it possible to determine the physical, cognitive and emotional state of the driver and the passenger.
HAV joins the family of IBV laboratories (which already includes the exceptional Human Analysis Lab - HAL that is used to capture the shape of the body in motion, the Climate Comfort Lab or the Co-creation Lab) all of which are focused on improving the development of advanced products in collaboration with our clients.
The IBV's Human Autonomous Vehicle (HAV) is a complete dynamic driving simulator that allows us to emulate the driving of vehicles with different degrees of autonomy and
to detect, in real time, the emotions of the occupants, analyzing, from the initial design phases, which requirements the monitoring and user information systems have to meet.
The aim of HAV is to refine vehicle behavior based on the reactions of its occupants, by validating systems from the point of view of perception, sense of safety, and an understanding of the ethics of the vehicle’s behavior. Thanks to HAV, tests can be carried out in a controlled and safe environment to determine the validity of the different technologies with which the occupant interacts, thereby demonstrating the viability of the solutions and adapting them to improve their level of acceptance by people.
HAV studies are particularly relevant in the case of autonomous vehicles (AV). AVs will be a paradigm shift in our relationship with the automobile. The concept of a vehicle that can take us from origin to destination with almost no driver intervention - or that of an occupant in this case - has the potential to be one of the most disruptive technologies of our time. However, the expected benefits of VAs are closely related to the extent to which users accept and embrace these vehicles. Therefore, conceiving VAs from the perspective of the human factor and with a user-centered design philosophy - as well as the systems that communicate with the occupants and those that control autonomous driving - is critical to ensure that autonomous vehicles are incorporated into everyday life.
HAV is a dynamic environment designed to simulate scenarios for the analysis of autonomous vehicle technologies and to evaluate their impact on driver/passenger response. HAV consists of different modules:
The CARLA environment simulator: A powerful software with an Unreal engine for the design of realistic scenarios with a high degree of accuracy and immersiveness. It allows you to visualize cities, roads or indeed any environment, and to introduce sound and rear-view vision and to simulate rainy or foggy conditions.
Visualization screens and virtual reality (VR) system: CARLA’s simulated environments can be viewed through a set of screens that are connected to the driving simulator or through HTC VIBE PRO virtual reality glasses that provide a totally immersive environment.
Dynamic platform: HAV consists of a motion platform synchronized with the visualization of the environment, which emulates accelerations, braking, turns and uneven terrain.
HMI and driving systems: The laboratory includes a seat (interchangeable) and simulated rear-view mirrors (screens that emulate the rear-view and can include information such as distance from other vehicles or blind spot detection), generating an environment similar to that of the interior of a vehicle.
Driver sensorization: The laboratory makes it possible to acquire parameters related to the way of driving (speed, acceleration, pedal and steering wheel position), as well as physiological signals from the driver (heart rate, breathing rate, facial muscle activity or direction of gaze). It also incorporates cameras to determine and analyze the driver’s behavior and his or her facial and eye gestures. This information allows us to predict the user’s emotional state, level of drowsiness, fatigue or dizziness.
The new HAV (Human Autonomous Vehicle) laboratory at the Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) provides unique possibilities to analyze the impact of new driving technologies on user satisfaction and comfort, which will allow us to make progress in the development of new vehicles with autonomous functions in collaboration with our clients.
For the implementation of this new facility, the IBV has received funding from the IVACE through Nominative Line S8021000 (Ref. IMAMCJ/2019/1 and IMAMCJ/2020/1) distributed in favor of the technology centers of the Autonomous Community of Valencia in 2019 and 2020 and approved by the Budget Law of the Regional Government (Generalitat) of Valencia.