Nissan ResearchPrincipal Investigator: David Abbink
2002 - 2015 (Industry funded, Completed)
Nissan Motor Company has been collaborating with the Delft Haptics Lab on research into haptic driver support systems and driver modeling, from 2002-2015.
2002-2006 Haptic Gas Pedal Project
In 2002 Nissan initiated a large multi-university research project, coordinated by Erwin Boer at Entropy Control, Inc., San Diego, with the goal to design and evaluate an alternative to Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): haptic driver support for car-following. The idea was to avoid human-automation issues with ACC by keeping the driver in the loop, and communicating changes in lead vehicle separation by continuously translating it to guidance forces on the gas pedal. Both Mark Mulder and David Abbink received their PhD theses in this project.
The Delft Haptics Lab collaborated closely with the Control & Simulation division at Aerospace Engineering to develop a haptic gas pedal prototype, and in-depth driver models that capture how the driving behavior changes when supported by guidance forces. The system was released on Japanese and US markets in 2007 as the Distance Control Assist System.
2006-2015 Understanding and enhancing steering feedback
Next, we worked on automotive steering, investigating what feedback drivers need and how this feedback may be enhanced. We contributed to prototypes of Nissan’s next generation steering technology, launched on the market in late 2013 with the Infinity Q50, which was subsequently listed in the IEEE Spectrum’s list of top tech cars of 2013. Other market applications in which our research was involved include Direct Adaptive Steering and Active Lane Control.
The ideas behind this human-centered research also stimulated the VENI research programme on using neuromuscular measurements and models to design haptic shared control, and extending this design philosophy to other applications than driving.
The Nissan projects fostered an intensive collaboration between automotive industry, the Delft Haptics Lab, Erwin Boer, and the Control&Simulation division of Aerospace engineering. In this period, many students from TU Delft participated in the research as part of the fulfillment of their Master Thesis requirements. The collaboration recently culminated in a VIDI project on symbiotic driving.