Identifying Postural Control and Thresholds of Instability Utilizing a Motion-Based ATV Simulator

The University of Iowa's all terrain vehicle (ATV) simulator is currently the only one in existence that allows studies of human subjects engaged in “active riding,” a process that is necessary for ATV operators to perform in order to maintain vehicle control, in a virtual reality environment. The previous ATV simulator version had a number of limitations, and a major goal of this project was to add functionality to the simulator. Researchers wanted the additional capability to measure other important aspects of operator-vehicle dynamics along with the operator’s movement in relationship to the vehicle as determined by motion capture, and to have the subject operate the vehicle in a virtual reality environment that would be perceived as authentic. This was accomplished with the addition of various force sensors on the simulator, creating an improved vehicle-platform configuration, developing an integrated visual component, updating the computer software of the platform to allow vehicle movement that would match that of the terrain in real time, and integrating these new components so that the rider’s operation of the simulator in the virtual environment was realistic. With this improved ATV simulator, the authors conducted proof-of-principle studies to test the simulator’s ability to measure operator-vehicle dynamics. Six subjects who were experienced ATV riders participated in the study, and the data obtained is being evaluated. By identifying operator postural control and the forces generated at operator-vehicle contact points, researchers will be able to determine the thresholds of instability and loss of vehicle control. In this study, the authors also determined the tolerability of the subjects’ use of Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles as compared to a large screen in providing the simulator’s visual input. Although subjects did not report severe symptoms with the use of the virtual reality goggles, they did not tolerate the use of the Oculus Rift as well as using the screen and particularly reported problems with nausea and eyestrain. Future studies will allow us to investigate a number of known risk factors for ATV-related injuries and how they impact ATV riding. Such investigations should shed light on how these factors increase the risk of loss of ATV control, vehicle rollover, and/or ejection from the machine.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Iowa, Iowa City

    Department of Emergency Medicine
    Iowa City, IA  United States 

    University of Iowa, Iowa City

    College of Engineering
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242-1527

    Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)

    University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Jennissen, Charles
    • Rahmatalla, Salam
    • Michael, John S
    • DeShaw, Jonathan
    • Denning, Gerene
    • Grant, Ulysses
    • Losik, Kyle
  • Publication Date: 2017-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: 27p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01633306
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: Apr 28 2017 10:42AM