University of Padova

Human factors in driving and autonomous vehicle

Industrial background

One of the major field of innovation in car industries is the development of automated vehicles. Driving simulators have therefore become increasingly interesting for both researchers and car manufacturers and many efforts have been realized in order to be as far as possible similar to real-world situations. Indeed, these tools present high definition widescreen, high quality auditory and vibrotactile stimulations that could lead to a highly immersive experience. Furthermore, driving simulations give the opportunity of monitoring users in a high controlled and safe environment while they are accomplishing various experimental tasks. The “HUMAN FACTOR IN DRIVING SIMULATOR” and “MODEL PREDICTIVE CONTROL OF DRIVING SIMULATORS AND VIRTUAL VEHICLES PRIVATE” projects involved the Human Technology Laboratory (HTLab) and the Department of Information Engineering (DEI) of the University of Padua and VI-Grade (one of the leader companies in crafting of driving simulators).

Scientific challenges

These collaborations pertain the development of new algorithms (e.g., Motion Cued Algorithm, MCA) able to recreate an high realistic sensation of dynamic driving. Furthermore, a series of ongoing experiments aim at assessing an overall picture of the driver considering behavioral (e.g. errors, namely collisions with obstacles), psychophysiological (e.g. heart rate, skin potential response/electrodermal activity, eye-tracking metrics) and self-reported measures (e.g. User experience and Presence questionnaires). Different driving conditions are considered such as manual and autonomous driving. Furthermore, the manipulation of tasks difficulty is evaluated. The effects on the physiological indices are analyzed both independently as well as in combination to assess specifically stress, arousal and cognitive load. In addition, the development of machine learning classifier is taken into account.

Sponsor: Vi-Grade GmbH (
Beginning Date/End date: February 2015 – December, 2018
HIT project coordinator: Alessandro Beghi
HIT Involved Staff: Gamberini Luciano, Pluchino Patrik, Bacchin Davide
Contact e-mail: beghi[at]

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