Human Factors in Design of Car Interiors

Topics: Steering wheel, Automobile, Display device Pages: 8 (2814 words) Published: October 6, 2008
In 1977, a comprehensive study of road safety found that human error was the primary cause in 57% of all automobile accidents and was a contributing factor in over 90%. With this discussion, we must keep in mind that the overall attention MUST be kept on the road and on driving. Many of the accidents that happen are due to lack of enough attention and focus on the road and driving conditions because the driver’s attention and focus was on a less significant feature of the car such as the radio.

In this study, we will begin by looking at the critical metrics driver-side dashboard, then move onto the steering wheel and to the center/passenger-side dashboard and finally look at the seating arrangements of the front of the vehicle. Many of the features of this proposed design will be an accumulation of good human factors-integrated controls that are already out on the market. Our primary objectives in this analysis will encompass the following:

1.Built-in features that promote and emphasize safety above all other functionality 2.Reducing potential driving risks and hazards through situational awareness tools, such as reducing blind spots via motion sensors and BirdsViewTM displays. 3.Ease of use of all features, tying back to the ease of creating visual maps for reduced attention to secondary features and higher focus/attention given onto road and driving conditions. Driver-Side Dashboard

For the speedometer and RPM information, the displays that will be used will be analog with both US and SI units to accommodate for different driver demographics. On the far left-hand side will be a digital display that will indicate the current gas fuel consumption of the vehicle, given in terms of MPG. In the middle of the analog semi-circular display for the speedometer will be a digital display showing the total mileage the vehicle has accumulated and directly beneath the total mileage will be the accumulated mileage of the vehicle since the last time it was set at zero. This would be used as an indicator for how much mileage it is during a particular trip or how many miles the vehicle accumulates at full tank.

Right underneath, towards the center of the trip mileage would be a protruded button that the driver presses to reset the trip mileage meter to zero for a new trip. From left to right would be the speedometer, analog gage to measure the rotations of the wheels and on the right side would be symbol displays that would indicate the following: oLow battery

oEngine failure
oOverheating of the engine
oCruise Control Activated
oAny other crucial error warnings that the driver needs to be aware of such as transmission problems. All of these error lights would be colored bright LED red and would flash with a voice that would go off from the main computer warning the driver of the type of warning and what to do to resolve the situation.

All of these warnings and alarms that are related to the conditions of the vehicle engine and support systems would be displayed as discrete pictures of the part that they are trying to predict. For example, for a battery warning sign would have the following symbol followed by a “LOW BAT” message. All of the symbols would use LED lighting so that all messages and displays can be seen easily. Of course, under the steering wheel, to the driver’s right-side would be a turn-knob that would alter the brightness of all of the displays including the LED-lighted display of the radio/CD/MP3 player stereo system. Certain symbols are rather universal when it comes to symbols and displays that provide active feedback on the condition of the vehicle. In the proposed design, if this were to be implemented, say in a new Nissan or Toyota or for that matter, any full-sized sedan, then it would add consistency in the memory of the driver when it came to how they could use their previous experiences in a similar sedan to transfer that experience to help them internalize the crucial...

References: 1. Wickens, Christopher D., et al. An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004.
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