Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Automotive Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Z. Filipi, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. J. David Smith, Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Laine Mears

Committee Member

Dr. David Bodde

Committee Member

Dr. Georges Fadel


Several emerging technologies hold great promise to improve the situational awareness of the heavy vehicle driver. However, current industry-standard evaluation methods do not measure all the comprehensive factors contributing to the overall effectiveness of such systems. The average commercial vehicle driver in the USA is 54 years old with many drivers continuing past retirement age. Current methods for evaluating visibility systems only consider field of view and do not incorporate measures of the cognitive elements critical to drivers, especially the older demographic. As a result, industry is challenged to evaluate new technologies in a way that provides enough information to make informed selection and purchase decisions. To address this problem, we introduce a new multi-factor evaluation framework, “Clarity of View,” that incorporates several important factors for visibility systems including: field of view, image detection time, distortion, glare discomfort, cost, reliability, and gap acceptance accuracy. It employs a unique application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) that involves both expert participants acting in a Supra-Decision Maker role alongside driver-level participants giving both actual performance data as well as subjective preference feedback. Both subjective and objective measures have been incorporated into this multi-factor decision-making model that will help industry make better technology selections involving complex variables. A series of experiments have been performed to illustrate the usefulness of this framework that can be expanded to many types of automotive user-interface technology selection challenges. A unique commercial-vehicle driving simulator apparatus was developed that provides a dynamic, 360-degree, naturalistic driving environment for the evaluation of rearview visibility systems. Evaluations were performed both in the simulator and on the track. Test participants included trucking industry leadership and commercially licensed drivers with experience ranging from 1 to 40 years. Conclusions indicated that aspheric style mirrors have significant viability in the commercial vehicle market. Prior research on aspheric mirrors left questions regarding potential user adaptation, and the Clarity of View framework provides the necessary tools to reconcile that gap. Results obtained using the new Clarity of View framework were significantly different than that which would have previously been available using current industry status-quo published test methods. Additional conclusions indicated that middle-aged drivers performed better in terms of image detection time than young and elderly age categories. Experienced drivers performed better than inexperienced drivers, regardless of age. This is an important conclusion given the demographic challenges faced by the commercial vehicle industry today that is suffering a shortage of new drivers and may be seeking ways to retain its aging driver workforce. The Clarity of View evaluation framework aggregates multiple factors critical to driver visibility system effectiveness into a single selection framework that is useful for industry. It is unique both in its multi-factor approach and custom-developed apparatus, but also in its novel approach to the application of the AHP methodology. It has shown significance in ability to discern more well-informed technology selections and is flexible to expand its application toward many different types of driver interface evaluations.



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