The use of volumetric projection in digital human modelling software for the identification of category N3 vehicle blind spots

The paper described the contribution of the Design Ergonomics Group (DEG) in the Loughborough Design School, UK, to a research project examining blind spots in Category N3 vehicles. The project was commissioned by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) with the aim of understanding the nature of blind spots in driver’s vision for Category N3 vehicles. The project was instigated by the DfT due to a perception that a large number of accidents are caused by the blind spots associated with Category N3 vehicles. The initial focus of the project was to understand the problem, with the processing of national accident data to establish if Category N3 vehicle blind spots contribute to a significant proportion of accidents. The findings indicated that the number of side swipe accidents, and accidents with vulnerable road users, warranted further exploration. In order to establish the cause and nature of blind spots three Category N3 vehicles were digitized using a FARO ARM scanning system, and imported into the SAMMIE Digital Human Modeling (DHM) system. To allow the exploration of blind spots a new feature was developed in the DHM system that allowed a representation of the three dimensional space visible to the driver of the Category N3 vehicles through mirrors (indirect vision) and window apertures (direct vision). This allowed multiple mirror and window aperture projections to be created at the same time, allowing the identification of blind spots that exist. This technique identified a key blind spot that had the potential to be associated with the accidents that were identified in the accident data. This led to the definition of a proposed change to directive UN Regulation 46 which was presented at the 100th United Nations GRSG committee.