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Truck Driver Fatigue Assessment Using a Virtual Reality System
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    In this study, a fully immersive Virtual Reality (VR) based driving simulator was developed to serve as a “proof-of-concept” that VR can be utilized to assess the level of fatigue (or drowsiness) truck drivers typically experience during real-life driving conditions. This study also involved examining the impact of varying driving conditions (i.e., weather conditions and driving time (day or night)) on drivers’ fatigue measure. To fulfill these goals, four drivers (two fatigued and two unfatigued) were allowed into the developed VR-based driving simulator to drive a VR-based truck at varying driving conditions. These conditions included clear day time, rainy day time, clear night time, rainy night time, foggy day time, rainy foggy day time, foggy night time, and rainy foggy night time conditions. Two fatigue measures (sway ratio and reaction time) were introduced and computed (or measured) using the VRbased simulator for all drivers. The computed measures were analyzed using multi-factor statistical analysis (ANOVA) procedures. The simulations conducted and the results obtained showed that VRbased driving simulators are a viable alternative to traditional driving simulators when developing technologies that assess drivers’ drowsiness (or fatigue) levels. The results also showed that sway ratio and reaction time fatigue measures were successful at characterizing the fatigue levels of drivers. This is the case because these measures were capable of clearly distinguishing between the two groups of drivers. It was also found that the sway ratio fatigue measure was influenced by weather conditions (mainly rainy conditions) employed during VR-based simulations.

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