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Univ. Prof. eng. Ion COPAE PhD
Military Technical Academy, Bucharest email:

Abstract: The paper highlights the drivers influences onto vehicle dynamicity by the way he acts on
the gas pedal and his reaction time, using experimental data gathered throughout test runs. The paper
also presents the main mathematical models that describe the drivers actions throughout vehicle

Keywords: automotive, dynamics modeling, vehicle dynamics, systemic study, driver action.


The driver influences vehicle dynamic behavior through driving style (the way he acts onto gas and
brake pedals) and through reaction time [3]. The paper deals with the way the gas pedal is being
operated and drivers reaction time. These issues introduce nonlinearities, called in system theory
static nonlinearities of relay type. The technical literature presents different mathematical models
(transfer function) for the driver that includes his reaction time and his driving style, which differ
depending on the established goal [3].

Drivers influence onto vehicles dynamics

1. Gas pedal operation may be performed in various ways. Its operation affects the throttles angular
position (its opening and closing). The throttles position is considered to describe the engines load,
because the driver acts on it to change vehicle dynamic behavior (acceleration, maintaining a constant
speed, overpassing etc.); the technical literature recommends the engine load to be described by the
inlet manifold air pressure p
The upper graphs from figure 1 presents the values for the throttles position and vehicle speed in the
case of two experimental test-runs [1].

Figure 1.
Added to that, the lower graphs from figure 1 presents the functional dependency between throttles
position and vehicle speed; these graphs highlight the fact that operating the throttle has as effect the
introduction of static nonlinearities by the driver. Figure 2 presents four such examples, which consist
of four static nonlinearities of relay type [3; 4].
Thus figure 2a presents a static characteristic of ideal relay type, for exemplification on the horizontal
axes is vehicle speed, and on the vertical the throttles position p; this shows that the driver acts
suddenly on the gas pedal between the two positions from which one is minimum (of c value) and a
maximum (of +c value); the maximum movement of the gas pedal is 2c (meaning 100%), but the
representation is done according to the acknowledged procedure, symmetrically towards the axis
The mentioned characteristic shows the neglecting of inertia in operating the pedal, the lack of a
constant positioning area around the origin, the existence of a maximum value and the inexistence of a
closed loop; thus, it is a static characteristic of relay type with no inertia, no insensibility (no dead
zone), saturated and with no hysteresis, which adds to the fact that we deal with a symmetric
nonlinearity, with two active positions in this case.

Figure 2.

Figure 2b presents a relay type characteristic with a dead zone (there is a zone of constant position
around axes origin), with no inertia (pedal is pressed swiftly), with saturation and without hysteresis
(lack of closed loop); added to that it is a symmetrical characteristic that has three positions (two
active positions and an inactive position). The characteristic shows that the driver does not press the
pedal in an area of 2b length around the origin, and the pedal operation is performed swiftly both on its
pressing as well as on its release.
Figure 2c presents static nonlinearity of saturated relay type, with no insensibility (dead zone) and
without hysteresis, but on which inertia is taken into consideration at the time of pedal operation.
Figure 2d presents a nonlinearity of polarized relay type, without inertia, saturated with hysteresis and
which includes an area of insensibility (dead zone).
All nonlinearities are described through nonlinear analytic expressions. For example, the polarized
relay type nonlinearity from figure 2d is described by the expressions ( . represents the logical
operator for and, V represent the speeds derivation):

, pentru
, pentru
V b V
V b V
V b V
V b V
< . >

< . <
> . <
< . >


Practically this shows that the driver, wishing to maintain constant speed within the limits (-b,b) at an
imposed value ( 80 for example, so b=5), he performs the following movements: 5 km/h
- Through AB area he maintains a constant position for the pedal (of c value), after which he
swiftly releases it in point B, where he acknowledges he reached the maximum allowed deviation
value b (85 km/h in the presented example);
- through area CD maintains a constant pedal position (of c value), after which he swiftly
presses it in point D, where he acknowledges he reached the maximum b imposed allowed value
(75km/h in the presented example).
For example we aim to establish the drivers influence by the existence of a insensibility area (dead
zone) when operating the gas pedal (see fig. 2b); for 60 test runs that were available we get the results
from figure 3 in two cases [1]: 5% and 10% dead zone, both percentages from the total value of
throttles position. As we can see from figure 3a on all experimental test runs the average speed
decreases (increase in losses) once the dead zone increases, the biggest was reached in test L57; for all
test runs, we can see a drop in average value of 7,8% when the insensibility area increased with 10%.
Similarly from figure 3b we can see that for all experimental test runs 2
norm is decreasing (losses
increase) once the dead zone increases, the highest still present on test run L57; for all test runs we can
see a decrease in 2
norm with 7,3% when the insensibility area increases with 10%. Thus we can
conclude that once the insensibility area increases the vehicle dynamic behavior decreases a pattern
which was expected!

Figure 3

Figure 4 presents the drivers influence onto vehicle dynamic behavior through the existence of a ramp
(sees fig. 2c, line AB), for its three values: 15 degrees, 45 degrees and 70 degrees; it is being
concluded that in the latter case the driver pressed the pedal suddenly, getting closer to the ideal relay
characteristic from figure 2a.
As we can see from figure 4, as the driver presses more and more violently on the gas pedal, the
vehicles dynamic behavior increases (average speed and 2
norm increase)
The graph from figure 4 highlights another important aspect, which has implications in the
establishment of mathematical models for drivers actions: we can see that the average speed and 2

norm have lower values than the experimental ones at a 45 degrees ramp, but higher at a 70 degrees
This means that at this test ramp we can adopt an equivalent nonlinearity of ramp type in order to
model drivers actions, which in this case has a value that ranges between 4570 degrees; this aspect is
covered by the Hammerstein-Wiener mathematical model.
2. Drivers reaction time is another influence factor of vehicles dynamic behavior. If we take into
consideration system theory, reaction time is a dead time known as timedelay; thus in this situation
we have a time-delay system. In system theory, we call a pure timedelay (often called only delaying
element) that element that has the transfer function, for example in Laplace images, with t dead-time,
in this case the driver's reaction time [3; 4]:

( ) e
W s
= (2)

Nonlinearity that emerges in the case a time delay exists is due to the fact that the system has a
transcendental characteristic equation, with infinity of solutions.

Figure 4.

Figure 5 presents the influence of drivers reaction time on to the vehicles speed, in the case of an
experimental test run [1]; it has been considered two values of reaction time: t=1 s and t=3 s

Figure 5.

As we can see from figure 5, the main statistic characteristics of vehicle speed (the average value, 2

norm, standard deviation and maximum value) do not have large variations, in the sense of their
considerable reductions once the reaction time increases; in other words put, increasing the reaction
time considerably worse vehicle dynamics. What we can notice, especially in detail D, is the fact that
the increase of reaction time leads to a delayed start in speed variation. This aspect is very important
during the movement while obeying certain conditions, for example heavy traffic, or when a certain
distance from the front vehicle is to be kept; in these cases it is necessary that the reaction time to be
reduced as possible, otherwise accidents may occur in traffic. The last aspect leads to the necessity of
studying the systems stability, including for critical reaction time determination t

Drivers actions mathematical modeling

In the technical literature various transfer function are presented for the driver, which include both
reaction time, as well as the drivers actions, which differ from the targeted imposed goal [2; 3].
Thus on often used model is that of Pipes, a model which was later validated by Chandler. According
to this model, it is considered that each driver reacts the same as the driver in front of them; so all
drivers will react as the column driver reacts, which obviously is a simplifying hypothesis. Based on
this hypothesis Pipes proposes the following transfer function in Laplace images (of s argument):
0, 37e
( )
0, 37e
W s


As we can see the reaction time of the driver was considered to be t=1,5 s according to expression (2).
Figure 6 presents Nyquist diagram (frequency characteristic in phase and amplitude) for
Pipes Chandler model from expression (3).

Figure 6.

We can see from figure 6 that for the A-B area of frequencies, ( ) A e amplitude for the transfer
function is greater than 1; this means that for these frequencies, according to the given definition for
transfer function amplitude, there is a risk of a systemic instability. This aspect is easily highlighted
from the graph because we drew a circle for greater than 1 amplitude (R=1, 03), as well as the circle of
range equal to one that passes through critical point C (-1;0). Also the graph presents the first 6 roots
of the characteristic equation:
( ) 0, 37e 0
A s s

= + = (4)

We have to mention that based on the first 6 roots, all of which being positioned in the LCS (left
complex semi-plane) we can appreciate that the system is stable; but having an infinity of roots due to
the existence of the exponential function, the mentioned instability may occur.
Figure 7 presents the step response of Pipes-Chandler model [2; 3]. The graph presents the systemic
performances of the model: drivers response time t
=8,87 s, rise time t
=2,43 s, stationary value y
overshoot o=7,98%. As we can see, this model has three disadvantages: consider all drivers to be
identical (same reaction time), systemic instability may occur and the index response may present
overshoot (although within limits).

Figure 7.

Another model that of Burnham, targets traffic optimization and has the following functions:

(0, 5 1, 64) e
( )
(2, 3696 1, 64) e
W s
s As s

+ + +

Where A [1/s] coefficient is dependent of vehicle speed v[m/s], and reaction time is considered to be
t=0,09 s [2; 3].
If frequency response is presented in the case of optimal model (figure 8 with Nyquist diagram), we
can see that for all frequencies the transfer functions amplitude (6) is under the value of one, which
means that this model satisfying the imposed conditions regarding stability. Indeed, we havent got
like previous cases frequency values on which their amplitude to be greater than the value of one.
Figure 9 presents the step response afferent to Burnham model for the driver. As we can see from the
graph, we have no o overshoot, and the response time has lower value than in the previous
Pipes Chandler model.

Figure 8.

Figure 9.

Out of the necessity of optimizing traffic, separate transfer functions were established for traction and
for braking. In the first case optimization leads to a transfer function that ensures the control of
throttles angular movement and in the second case ensures the operation of ABS. To this purpose,
Ioannou and Xu established transfer functions for traction under the following form (reaction time is
considered null):
3 2
1, 2 0, 24 0, 012
( )
1, 4 0, 25 0, 012
s s
W s
s s s
+ +
+ + +

And for breaking the following form:

0, 25
( )
1, 25 0, 25
W s
s s
+ +

On both frequency responses confirm the algorithms correctness, as we can see from figure 10, where
Nyquist diagrams are presented for W
and W
from the latter two expressions.

Figure 10.

Just as the previous cases, it can be established step response afferent to Ioannou Xu model for the
driver, using the two data transfer functions; thus we can conclude that there is no overshoot, and
response times are reduced and approximately equal.


Similarly we can analyze other mathematical models that describe the drivers actions, on which we
can consider his reaction time. Considering the vehicles movement equation we can study its systemic
dynamic behavior, on which we take into consideration the drivers influence and the roads influence.


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