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Development and evaluation of a haptic navigation system for motorbike riders

: Diederichs, Frederik; Hegele, Martin; Ganzhorn, Melanie

Kuschefski, A. ; Institut für Zweiradsicherheit -ifz-, Essen:
Sicherheit, Umwelt, Zukunft = safety, environment, future. 9. Internationale Motorradkonferenz 2012. Tagungsband. CD-ROM : Proceedings of the 9th International Motorcycle Conference 2012, 1. - 2. Oktober 2012, Köln
Essen: ifz, 2012 (Forschungshefte Zweiradsicherheit 15)
ISBN: 978-3-923994-20-5
ISBN: 3-923994-20-6
Internationale Motorradkonferenz "Sicherheit - Umwelt - Zukunft" <9, 2012, Köln>
International Motorcycle Conference "Safety - Environment - Future" <9, 2012, Köln>
Fraunhofer IAO ()

This paper describes a human machine interface for motorbike riders based on haptic stimuli. It has been applied for navigation cues that are given by vibration motors inside a patent pending smart helmet. The smart helmet is equipped with two lateral vibration motors inside the inner linen and an audio unit. The signals are transferred via Bluetooth from mobile phones or satellite navigation systems to the helmet.
In this release the smart helmet is introduced and the series of experiments carried out to determine haptic navigation cues is described. Further potential applications in ARAS (Advanced Rider Assistance Systems) are on the horizon, like Side Assists, Frontal Collision Warnings, Curve Warnings and Speed Warnings. In this study the aim was to complement or even substitute the traditional, visual and voice command based navigation cues by haptic cues in order to enhance the intuitiveness of turn indications and to reduce distraction while riding to a minimum. The idea is based on the fact that haptic stimuli are processed more directly by the human brain than voice or visual based information. Also the haptic perception channel seems to allow still further room for information while the visual channel is practically fully occupied, especially in complex intersection situations. Providing information by vibration thus incorporates great potential for an intuitive and non distracting human machine interface for ARAS. For the development of the haptic cues, existing motorbike navigation systems from BMW and Tom-Tom where analyzed theoretically and in practice. Based on this, the existing visual and voice cues were translated into haptic vibration patterns. The haptic cues where tested and improved iteratively in laboratory experiments and in open road tests with at least four participants in each iterative test cycle. The tests proved that the haptic cues are basically always interpreted correctly and can be used effectively and with high acceptance under real driving conditions in urban and rural environments. Limits of the haptic navigation concept where found for small roundabouts and intersections with unsymmetrical road exits as well as for "turn around" maneuvers. It could be shown in the experiments that haptic navigation would perfectly work in the majority of all navigation events while it still needs complementary information for complex navigation instructions.