Observations on the lateral performance of truck drivers
Authors: C. B. Winkler, Michael R. Hagan, Scott E. Bogard, J. L. Sullivan
UMTRI, in partnership with Freightliner, Meritor WABCO, and Praxair Corporation, and with funding from the US DOT Intelligent Vehicle Initiative, conducted a year-long field operational test (FOT) of an early version of Freightliner/Meritor WABCO's Roll Stability Advisor and Control (RA&C). While the primary intent of the study was to evaluate this device, this paper provides an example of the "collateral value" that such undertakings can yield.
The FOT followed six tractor-semitrailer combinations hauling liquid nitrogen in actual commercial service. The vehicles were tracked for a full year, during which they were driven by 23 drivers in a slip-seat operation. Total travel exceeded 700,000 kilometers and reached nearly 10,000 hours. The vehicles were heavily instrumented, and data were recorded full time while the vehicles were in use. Data representing 92% of all travel during the year were successfully recorded. Raw data from the vehicles amounted to some 25 GB and grew to 65 GB with post processing and analysis.
This large and very rich database provides a new, high-fidelity view of the driving process yielding value well beyond the original interest of the research. This paper examines the influences of speed, load condition, and individual driving style on lateral performance through the use of histograms of lateral acceleration and rollover ratio. Interesting asymmetries in lateral performance are presented. Other factors seen to have statistically significant influences on lateral performance were weather, lighting, and direction of turn.