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Telematic Applications for the Integration of Drivers with special needs


The main goal of this project is to apply a user-centred approach in proposing "integrated solutions", design guidelines and draft regulations for drivers with special needs (DSN) utilising the possibilities of modern technology and especially those of TELEMATICS. The main objectives of the project can be stated as follows:

to define the driving tasks and the range of constraints, limitations and needs of main DSN groups through surveys and driver simulator tests;
to conduct a survey of DSN aids, existing and under development, (i.e. Information Technology (I.T.) adaptable control, mobility and car adaptation aids);
to establish scenarios of "integrated solutions" using existing and prospective aid systems appropriate to groups of DSN;
to provide drafts of any regulations which appear to be necessary and also design guidelines with regard to safety and functionality; and
to look for easy, cost effective and safe "integrated solutions" for DSN and propose ways for their pan- European adoption and diffusion.
A user centred approach has been used with respect to proposing 'integrated solutions', design guidelines and draft regulations for drivers with special needs (DSN) utilizing the possibilities of modern technology and especially those of Telematics.

The project has submitted thus far the following 3 deliverables:
'Critical issues and survey of past research and development work for DSN';
'Existing aids for drivers with special needs';
'Identification and grouping of requirements for drivers with special needs'.

An extensive survey of DSN assistance incentives to driving and also DSN eligibility and licensing in the various European and other countries resulted in the construction of country reports and relevant tables. A survey of research and development of an inventory of available statistics in most European Economic Community (EEC) countries of DSN and people with special needs (PSN) has also been conducted.

An extensive survey of existing driving aids for DSN was realised. Systems were classified and also a database (TELDAT) was constructed for their future systematic classification. Also an analytical aid coding system was proposed. Among the outcomes of this stage of the work was a first stage identification of problems and pitfalls of the systems surveyed as stated during the interviews.

The project developed its own definition of the driving task for the average driver for use as a tool in data collection. A functional classification of drivers with special needs was also developed. The DSN classification with regard to the driving task were identified and classified and the data collection also identified general difficulties encountered by many different impairment groups.

Progress has been made in the preparation of driver simulator testing (ie choice of the subjects, appropriate transformation of driver simulators, establishment of driving scenarios) and has started testing.
Technical Approach

The project is characterised by a multidisciplinary approach combining skills of experts in disability assessment, technology design, human factors and transportation engineering which aims to bridge significant gaps in research and application.

In early stages of the project the articulation and definition of user requirements has been built on the already considerable literature relating to drivers with varying types of special needs, conducting tests in the driver simulators that are at the disposal of the consortium.

In the early stages a survey of the existing and under development DSN aids has also been conducted, classifying them in three categories for the convenience of the analysis, i.e.: Information Technology, Adaptable Control, Mobility and Car Adaptation aids. Then "scenarios" are developed with integrated solutions of aid systems for DSN, and some of them will be selected and evaluated with regard to their technical specifications and performance. Finally, the gaps will be identified between the existing "integrated systems"and the special driving needs of the main DSN groups will be defined.

Taking into account the possibilities of modern technology and especially those of TELEMATICS, prospective DSN aid systems will be considered and classified in the three categories previously mentioned.

Here also "scenarios" will be considered with different "integrated systems" for various DSN categories. Taking the results of the evaluation of the existing and prospective aid systems, design guidelines for user requirements of DSN aids systems will be generated. Finally, taking into consideration the results of the previous stages, drafts of regulations will be proposed.

Key Issues

Definition of main DSN groups and their requirements related to the driving task;
Definition of driving scenarios and participation of people with special needs in the driver simulator tests;
Setting up of scenarios of "integrated solutions", in the first stage with existing, and in the second with prospective driver aids. Determination of the special value-added of TELEMATICS in such solutions;
Provision of guidelines related to safety and functionality which will improve the design of the driving compartment not only for DSN groups but also for all user groups
Contribution to standardisation of driver aids, and proposals for policy measures for increasing the number in Europe of those who have special needs but are nevertheless able to drive.

Expected Achievements

The following is a list of the project's expected achievements in the forthcoming months:

After having conducted the driver simulator testing we will know more about the DSN workload and other related crucial issues which need verification.
The TELDAT database will be further refined and most of the aid systems will be imputed.
Gaps in the existing solutions, requirements for streamlined solutions, systems which can be used by many DSN and areas where many systems exist will be defined thus facilitating a strategic planning for R&D in the area. Especially after considering the prospective systems the most promising areas for Telematic Applications will be indicated.

The main expected achievement though, in the project's second year, is the provision of design guidelines and draft regulations for DSN aid systems.

Expected Impact

Increasing the number of people with special needs who are able to drive will contribute greatly to the equity principle of all EEC citizens, providing them with the opportunity of better integration within society. In parallel, existing DSN will be offered better uniformity and functionality in the aids offered.

Today differences exist between EEC countries regarding the treatment of DSN. By providing design guidelines and draft regulations to be adopted on a pan European level a number of impacts are expected, such as:

contribution towards a "common market" for car adaptation manufacturers
cheaper products for the users
contribution to a safer society for all: external safety for DSN and for other citizens will be increased
other drivers may benefit from solutions which make driving easier and safer.

Contribution to Standardization

Deliverables of the project will focus on guidelines and draft regulations related to the active safety and functionality of the adaptation aids. These reports may be used in European and International committees for standardization of systems, safety levels, measuring systems etc.


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Participants (9)