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Study on perception of road signs by the driver using driving simulator

Grant number: 16/02948-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): June 24, 2017
Effective date (End): October 03, 2017
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Transportation Engineering - Vehicles and Control Equipment
Principal researcher:Ana Paula Camargo Larocca
Grantee:Ana Paula Camargo Larocca
Host: Mohamed A. Abdel-Aty
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Central Florida (UCF), United States  


Driving simulators are research tools that allow studying driver behavior on several driving scenarios, in a safely and cost-effective way. This study pertains to a research project whose goal is to use these tools in the assessment of road signage projects, before their implementation on roadway. In particular, the goal of this study was to analyze how drivers perceive road signs within a simulated driving environment, supported by an eye tracking system. The research development included the assembling of the driving simulator and the eye tracking system, the generation of the simulated environment, an experiment to measure the signaling perception within that environment, and finally, the analysis and validation of the results. In the experiment, twenty-one drivers drove over a ten-kilometer virtual segment of the BR-116 roadway, that has thirty-one traffic signs, in order to measure the number of eye fixations, the perception distance and the observation time over each sign, as well as, the speed change after its perception. The perception of the road signs within the virtual environment was similar to that reported in the literature for on-road studies: in average, the drivers perceived one-third of the traffic signs, the mean observation time was 360 milliseconds, the mean perception distance was 100 meters and only the speed limit signs perception was relevant on the driver's behavior. Furthermore, it was observed a relative validity between the driving simulator speeds and the actual operating speeds in the studied segment. In that sense, this study shows the feasibility and validity of using driving simulators to assess road signage projects. Finally, some countermeasures will be proposed in order to enhance both the road signaling of the studied segment and the road signs perception within the simulated driving environment. (AU)

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