Real-time, man-in-the-loop simulators are important tools for operator training as well as human performance research. Simulator implementation using digital computers offers many important advantages but may also cause problems. One of the most significant and troublesome artifacts of digital computer simulation is the presence of transport delays in the operator/vehicle control loop. Transport delays have been shown to destabilize the system, resulting in poorer control of the simulated vehicle. They may also contribute to an increased likelihood of simulator sickness in human operators. Therefore, it is desirable to be able to quantify simulator transport delays and to compensate the system in such a way that delay effects on operator performance and well-being are minimized. The research presented in this dissertation involved the measurement of simulator transport delay using two different methods: a time-domain approach involving the detection of a response to a simulated step control input, and a frequency-domain approach involving the measurement of phase shift from a simulated sinusoidal input. Algorithmic compensators (digital filters) were developed to provide phase lead to counteract the system transport delay. Two compensators designed using approaches previously described in the literature canceled out delay reasonably well; however, a new compensator design developed by the author provided more nearly ideal phase performance without introducing unwanted side effects such as visual jitter. The transport delay measurement and compensation techniques were applied to a low-cost, real-time interactive automobile driving simulator developed at the University of Central Florida. The investigations using both measurement techniques revealed that a substantial amount of delay was present in the system. The three delay compensators implemented in the simulator were found (by reapplication of the frequency-domain or steady-state delay measurement technique) to operate approximately as designed. Finally, a driver-in-the-loop experiment was conducted to assess the effect of delay compensation on driver/vehicle performance. While the small size of the experiment allowed no definite conclusions to be drawn regarding the efficacy of compensation, trends in the data were generally indicative of better performance with compensation.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dumas, Joseph D. II, "Measuring and compensating for transport delay in real-time interactive driving simulation" (1993). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 3649.