Evaluation of Adapted Passenger Cars for Drivers with Physical Disabilities


Driving can provide independent and efficient mobility. However, according to the driving license directive (91/439/EEC) are persons with locomotor impairments are only allowed drive if their disabilities can be compensated. Compensation can be realised by vehicle adaptations. The directive provides meagre guidance on how vehicles should be adapted or how to verify that the compensatory requirements are fulfilled. This is a gap in the current process for licensing drivers with physical disabilities. Furthermore, the Swedish process from driver assessment to driver licensing and adaptation approval is complex, fragmented, and suffer from lack of communication between involved authorities. The objective of this thesis was to contribute to the development of a method to evaluate vehicle adaptations for driver with physical disabilities. The focus was on the evaluation of adaptations for steering, accelerating and braking. Three driving simulator experiments and one manoeuvre test with adapted vehicles were conducted. A group of drivers with tetraplegia driving with hand controls were compared to able-bodied drivers in the first experiment. Even if the drivers with tetraplegia had a longer brake reaction time they performed comparable to the able-bodied drivers. However, they spent more effort and were more tired in order to perform as well as the able-bodied drivers. It was concluded that the adaptation was not sufficient. An Adaptive Cruise Controller (ACC) was tested in the second experiment in order to find out if it could alleviate the load on drivers using hand controls. It was found that the ACC decreased the workload on the drivers. However, ACC systems need to be adjustable and better integrated. The results from the first two experiments were used to provide some guidelines for ACCsystems to be used by drivers with disabilities. The third experiment was preceded by a manoeuvre test with joystick controlled cars. The test revealed some problems, which were attributed to time lags, control interference, and lack of feedback. Four joystick designs were tested with a group of drivers with tetraplegia in the third experiment. It was concluded that time lags should be made similar to what is found in standard cars. Lateral and longitudinal control should be separated. Active feedback can improve vehicle control but should be individually adjusted. The experiments revealed that drivers with the same diagnose can be functionally very diverse. Thus, an adaptation evaluation should be made individually. Furthermore, the evaluation should include a manoeuvre test. Finally, it was concluded that the evaluation approach applied in the experiments was relevant but needs to be further developed.



Millions for research into maritime transport and the environment

Maritime transport is a major source of emissions of harmful air pollutants and carbon dioxide. In a new project, a research team from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) and the University of Gothenburg has received SEK 6.4...


New research programme for more efficient travel

The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) is playing an important role in a major new research programme to find radical solutions leading to fewer trips and more efficient travel, along with tools to enable better use of roads and...


Simulator used to practice emergency responses safely

Emergency responses of the police, ambulance, and rescue services are associated with a high risk of accidents, but practicing them in real traffic is neither safe nor permissible. A simulator-based method developed by the Swedish National Road and Transport...


Simulation of cut-in by manually driven vehicles in platooning scenarios

A study in a VTI-driving simulator has showed that a platoon will be able to handle a cut in from a manually driven car. The results of this study have recently been presented at two conferences in Japan.



The five-year anniversary of European Road Profile Users' Group (ERPUG) Forum will take place at Ramboll head quarter, Copenhagen, Denmark October 19-20, 2017.


Self-driving buses in Sweden next year?

A self-driving, fossil-free bus. This idea might become reality through a forthcoming collaborative project involving the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), Linköping University and several other participants. The project group aim...