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Assessment of Vehicle Performance in Harsh Environments Using LSU Driving Simulator and Numerical Simulations

Steve C. S. Cai, Sherif Ishak, and Jiexuan Hu, December 2015

With the economic booming development of coastal areas, the importance of the traffic planning becomes obvious not only in a hurricane evacuation but also in the daily transportation. Vehicle performance on the freeway during harsh environments is critical to the success of the planning process. The present study aims to study the effect of harsh environments on the driving behavior and vehicle performance. The driving simulator installed in Louisiana State University was used to investigate the driver’s behavior and vehicle performance in different adverse conditions such as strong crosswinds, wet road surface, and curving. Modified parameters of the driving simulator were determined to reproduce the real wind loadings according to the vehicle velocity and wind velocity, through the manipulation of appropriate software. While the vehicle performance was recorded in terms of lane offset, vehicle velocity, and heading error, the driver’s reaction was measured in the form of the reaction time, steering angle, and the time of pressing on brake and gas pedal, respectively. The results illustrate that a higher wind speed leads to more variance of lane offset and heading error. The rainy weather/wet road surface does have an effect on the vehicle velocity in a strong wind environment. The findings of this study demonstrate the valuable use of a driving simulator to represent different hazardous driving conditions and to develop a statistic model to predict and estimate the driver’s behavior and vehicle performance.

Keywords: Wind Forces, CFD, Vehicle Performance, Driving Behavior, Driving Simulator

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 4.8 MB)