Vibrotactile pedals: Provision of haptic feedback to support economical driving

S.A. Birrell, M.S. Young, A.M. Weldon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The use of haptic feedback is currently an underused modality in the driving environment, especially with respect to vehicle manufacturers. This exploratory study evaluates the effects of a vibrotactile (or haptic) accelerator pedal on car driving performance and perceived workload using a driving simulator. A stimulus was triggered when the driver exceeded a 50% throttle threshold, past which is deemed excessive for economical driving. Results showed significant decreases in mean acceleration values, and maximum and excess throttle use when the haptic pedal was active as compared to a baseline condition. As well as the positive changes to driver behaviour, subjective workload decreased when driving with the haptic pedal as compared to when drivers were simply asked to drive economically. The literature suggests that the haptic processing channel offers a largely untapped resource in the driving environment, and could provide information without overloading the other attentional resource pools used in driving.

Practitioner Summary: Overloaded or distracted drivers present a real safety danger to themselves and others. Providing driving-related feedback can improve performance but risks distracting them further; however, giving such information through the underused haptic processing channel can provide the driver with critical information without overloading the driver's visual channel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-292
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Early online date19 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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