Humans can rapidly change their low-frequency arm dynamics to resist forces or give way to them. Quantifying driver time-varying arm dynamics is important to develop steer-by-wire and haptic support systems. Conventional linear time-invariant (LTI) identification, and even time-varying techniques such as wavelets, fail to capture fast changing dynamics. Moreover, such techniques require perturbation signals on the steering wheel (SW), which may affect steering feel and control behavior. We propose a novel two-step method to estimate time-varying driver admittance, using unobtrusive grip-force measurements of the hands on the wheel to schedule a linear parameter-varying (LPV) model that captures the full admittance range. A total of 18 subjects participated in two experiments in a simulator with an actuated SW. In a sensorimotor control experiment, we first establish the grip force and admittance relationship, requiring subjects to perform a boundary tracking task where perturbations on the wheel enabled local LTI identification. Six boundary widths is used to evoke admittance changes, after which a global LPV model is obtained through interpolation between the local models. Results show an inverse relationship between grip force and admittance and that the LPV model accurately captures the admittance settings (fit percentage $>90\%$). Second, a driving experiment is followed that aims to evoke differences in grip force and admittance in response to varying road widths, offering more realistic data to evaluate the LPV model predictions. Results show that the LPV model accurately describes adaptations in admittance to road width. Our method allows for online estimation of time-varying admittance during driving, without applying force perturbations.
- Driving behavior
- grip force
- linear parameter-varying (LPV) models
- neuromuscular admittance