Stewart Ii (Human MacHine Interface) by Felix Ros
2016 - 2017, Golden A' Engineering and Technical Design Award Winner
The concept is inspired by the idea of driving an autonomous vehicle like a horse, the famous so-called 'H-metaphor' introduced by F.O. Flemisch et al. The idea is that two intelligent entities, namely the driver and vehicle, both have control over the drive. The rider can give the horse more control by loosening the reins or less control by tightening them. Haptic input and output create a dialog between the two entities where the rider shows intentions and the horse makes the final call. This dynamic flow of control between two intelligent entities inspired me to design Stewart: an interface that sits between the driver and its autonomous car.
Between you and your autonomous car, there is Stewart - a haptic interface that mediates between you and your car. Stewart's objective is to accommodate a healthy relationship between man and machine, to be achieved by an intuitive and expressive form of interaction. Stewart provides you with constant updates about the car's behavior and its intentions. If you don't agree on the car's next course of action, you can manipulate Stewart to change this. Stewart II aims to make the driving experience personal again by enabling a haptic dialogue between car and driver, offering drivers high-level control over their autonomous vehicle. The prototype is fully interactive and is being used for design research and testing in a driving simulator study. The final objective is to design a haptic language that enables intuitive communication between man and machine for a satisfying driving experience.
Design Challenges
Besides testing whether an HMI like Stewart II works in an automated driving context and has a positive effect on the overall driving experience, the process of designing and integrating the prototype had plenty of challenges to overcome. The prototype is advanced and uses parallel robotics to diplay different haptic properties whilst sensing user intent. This technical approach offers a lot of freedom for designing different interactions on the long run. However, a trade-off with complexity is that it often comes with technicalities. Through an intterative design process the prototype became suitable for testing. The main goal of Stewart II is to push the idea out of concept phase into automotive research. A challenge especially was the integration of the prototype into a driving simulator. The interactions designed had to really work for Stewart II not to only be a concept. The autonomous driving software was limited to what it could do. Designing suitable interactions and driving scenarios for the user study required resourcefulness and technological skill to make the interactions work seamlessly.
Production Technology
3D Printing, laser cutting, Processing, Arduino.
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