Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 475–482 | Cite as

The ergonomic value of a bidirectional haptic interface when driving a highly automated vehicle

  • Martin KienleEmail author
  • Daniel Damböck
  • Heiner Bubb
  • Klaus Bengler
Original Article


Advances in technology have fueled the development of driver assistance systems. Even today, these systems can take over parts of the driving task. However, the interface becomes more and more complex with an increasing number of functions. One way to reduce such complexity is to venture the haptic channel. While haptic feedback in lateral direction is comparatively easy to realize via the steering wheel, the longitudinal direction forms a challenge. With conventional control elements, that is, pedals, haptic interaction can only be partially realized (this is due to the division of accelerator and brake pedals). Haptic signals, like forces added to the accelerator pedal, can only transmit information regarding the amount of acceleration, not the desired deceleration. In this context, two-dimensional control elements show great potential regarding future highly automated vehicle driving. Therefore, an experiment conducted at the Institute of Ergonomics of the Technische Universität München investigated the influence of haptic feedback of assistance systems on driving performance when using an active side stick as control element. Additionally, the impact of vehicle vibrations and accelerations were explored. Besides objective performance data, subjective assessment was also reported. The results show that adding assistance significantly improves driving performance. Moreover, subjective ratings indicate a reduction in workload. Accelerations and vibrations, however, had no verifiable effect on the driving performance. This fact was confirmed by the subjects’ subjective assessment. This paper shows that two-dimensional control elements can be a reasonable alternative to steering wheel and pedals when driving a highly automated vehicle.


Highly automated driving Driver assistance Haptic feedback Force feedback Cooperative control Side stick 



The studies presented in this article are part of the first author’s doctoral thesis at the Institute of Ergonomics at the Technische Universität München, Germany. The studies were conducted within the framework of the project H-Mode, which is funded by the German Research Foundation. The project H-Mode is a cooperation between the Institute of Ergonomics and the Institute of Transportation Systems at the German Aerospace Center, especially Dr. F. O. Flemisch. We thank A. Eichinger for his help in analyzing the data, as well as the anonymous reviewers who helped improve the quality of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Kienle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Damböck
    • 1
  • Heiner Bubb
    • 1
  • Klaus Bengler
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ErgonomicsTechnische Universität MünchenGarchingGermany

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