In the automotive industry there is increasing use of automatic control technology to improve vehicle safety, efficiency and performance. This trend raises challenging questions about dynamic interaction of the vehicle with the human occupants, whether driver or passenger. My work is aimed at improving the understanding of this dynamic interaction, in order to reduce time and cost of vehicle development and improve objective and subjective vehicle performance.

The Driver-Vehicle Dynamics Group was established in 2001 to contribute original research to the field. The work is funded largely by leading international automotive companies. The research is distinctive because it brings together three separate academic fields: vehicle dynamics; control theory; and neural science. The combination of these three fields has enabled pioneering contributions to knowledge in five main areas:

  1. modelling the human cognitive process involved in driving a vehicle, with special attention given to: the internal model and predictive control; cognitive limitations including intermittency; and experimental identification;
  2. application of mathematical game theory to modelling and understanding the dynamic interaction between a human driver and an automated vehicle;
  3. measurement and simulation of human sensory dynamics to understand the role of motion feedback and steering torque feedback in human driving control;
  4. application of robust control theory to provide insight to the subjective qualities of vehicle dynamic behaviour;
  5. neuromuscular dynamics, particularly the role of stretch reflex in a driver's response to steering torque feedback.

Future research is directed towards a better understanding of the driver's internal model, particularly its role in determining the subjective performance of a vehicle.