Experimental Validation of Torque-Based Control for Realistic Handwheel Haptics in Driving Simulators

Mircea Damian, Barys Shyrokau, Xabier Carrera Akutain, Riender Happee

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A realistic steering feel is one of the key elements to guarantee fidelity on a driving simulator in general, and in particular to replicate on-centre vehicle handling. This requires precise modelling of the steering dynamics, a high bandwidth control loading system, and coupling of virtual and physical components in agreement with computational requirements and hardware limitations. For such a coupling, the common approach position-based control uses the measured signals of steering wheel angle and steering rate as inputs to the steering system model. This paper proposes an alternative torque-based control scheme using steering torque as an input to the steering system with additional compensation. Torque-based control was designed and evaluated in conjunction with detailed electric power steering models including state-of-the-art friction models, a neuromuscular driver model, and two driver-in-the-loop experiments in a high-end driving simulator. The objective analysis performed by means of the neuromuscular driver model reveals that the driver applies less impedance i.e. the driver is less stiff on a driving simulator when steering feedback is provided with the torque-based control compared to the position-based control. The investigations demonstrate that torque-based control reduces haptic response delay and vibrations caused by friction modelling compared to position-based control. The driver-in-the-loop experiments show significant objective effects on steering performance and subjective evaluation of fidelity and effort. We conclude that the proposed approach closes the vehicle-driver loop with more realism in a driving simulator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-209
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • driving simulator
  • Friction
  • Loading
  • neuromuscular driver model
  • on-centre handling
  • Steering feel
  • steering system
  • Steering systems
  • subjective evaluation
  • Torque
  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Vehicles
  • Wheels


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