Warning systems design in a glass cockpit environment

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling

Author: Johan Norén; [2008]

Keywords: Warning systems; HMI; Head Up Display;


In Sweden close to 500 people are killed and several thousands severely injured in traffic each year. This is one of the largest health problems for society in both Sweden and the whole world. In the cars of tomorrow will the main instrument panel and the centre console be screen-based instead of the current solution with “iron instruments” and other physical devices. This future driver environment opens for a flexible and situation-dependent usage of presentation resources. The purpose of this thesis is to explore these possibilities from a warning system perspective.

The project had its main focus on designing warning system concepts using the HUD and vibrotactile information in a coordinated way based on established HMI principles. Another goal for this thesis work was to generate a functional concept for demonstration and evaluation in the virtual reality lab at the University of Linköping.

The method of realization was divided into three phases – information gathering, concept generation and implementation. These phases are commonly used in design projects. This way of work supplies structure to the project and makes it possible to achieve an iterative design process.

The information gathering involved a thorough theoretical study of HMI, interface design and warning design. A state of the art investigation was then conducted to find out how the warning systems, relevant to this thesis, are presented today.

The concept generation was divided into two parts – warning system design and visual design. The Warning system design concepts were based on different combinations from a morphologic matrix and relevant theory. Consideration was also taken to when the systems are likely to be activated and which modality, or modalities, that then was suitable to use. The visual design concepts were developed by using creative product development methods and the iterative Simulator-Based Design (SBD) theory.

After concluding the concept generation was the visual design results given functionality by programming software. The visual warning system were then integrated in the simulator software and fully implemented in the simulator cockpit at the university.

The implemented warning systems were then evaluated by a pilot study conducted in the simulator. Test persons were invited to the VR-lab and given an introduction to the warning systems. They were then asked to drive a predetermined route with a number of different warning system conditions. These test results were later statistically analyzed and evaluated.

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