Title: The effect of dynamic arm support on grip forces and steering errors during simulated driving

Authors: Julius Klein, Marc Obrador, Narcis Gascons, David J. Reinkensmeyer

Addresses: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of California at Irvine, CA 92697, USA. ' Mechanical Engineering Department, Universitat de Girona, GI 17411, Spain. ' Mechanical Engineering Department, Universitat de Girona, GI 17411, Spain. ' Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of California at Irvine, CA 92697, USA

Abstract: Drivers often drive with their hands in non-optimal positions on the steering wheel in order to take advantage of a car|s armrests. We developed a spring-balanced, floating arm rest that can provide support to the arm against gravity with the hand in the optimal steering position. We tested how young adult drivers adapted to this arm rest while driving a simulator. Use of the arm support significantly decreased the average grip force used to hold the steering wheel by 30%. Steering error, quantified as the distance between the car and a centre line on a driving course, decreased significantly by 8% with arm support. These results suggest that a dynamic arm rest might improve driving ergonomics and safety.

Keywords: dynamic arm support; grip forces; steering errors; driving simulation; automotive armrests; floating armrests; spring-balanced armrests; optimal steering position; vehicle steering; driving ergonomics; vehicle safety.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHVS.2008.022253

International Journal of Heavy Vehicle Systems, 2008 Vol.15 No.2/3/4, pp.449 - 459

Available online: 24 Dec 2008 *

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