Graduate students from Auburn University’s occupational safety, ergonomics, and injury prevention program – with the support of the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center (HATCI), have done research on how the increasing number of elderly and overweight drivers in the United States necessitates that a vehicle manufacturer develops automobiles that accommodate these changing demographics.
How this used to work
In the past digital human models have been successfully used to simulate human vehicle interaction (Chaffin, 2005; Ozsoy et al., 2015; Yang et al., 2007), the variability in ingress and egress procedures among drivers with different physical attributes poses a unique challenge to developing accurate models.
Using IMUs to research ingress and egress
The objective of this study was to apply inertial measurement units (IMUs), using the MVN BIOMECH system, to compare ingress and egress characteristics of individuals of varying age and body type. Ninety-three participants, comprising a control group (aged 21–< 0.001), and was characterized by a much slower ingress time among the elderly (mean = 4.33 secs), compared with controls (2.97 secs) and high-BMI participants (2.71 secs).
Egress was also observed to be affected by population (F2, 28 = 8.85, p < 0.001), but in a slightly different manner. The control group (mean = 2.95 secs) was the fastest to egress the car, followed by the high-BMI group (4.42 secs) and the elderly (5.26 secs).
The results indicate that IMUs may be successfully applied to characterize ingress and egress motion paths of different population groups and may be useful when designing seated applications, particularly for elderly and high-BMI populations.
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of HATCI. The authors thank the graduate students of the occupational safety, ergonomics, and injury prevention programs at Auburn University for their support collecting data for this study.