The purpose of this book is to provide a thorough understanding of ergonomic issues and to provide
background information, principles, design guidelines, and tools and methods used in designing
and evaluating automotive products. This book has been written to satisfy the needs of both students
and professionals who are genuinely interested in improving the usability of automotive products.
Undergraduate and graduate students in engineering and industrial design will gain an understand-
ing of the ergonomics engineer’s work and the complex coordination and teamwork of many pro-
fessionals in the automotive product development process. Students will learn the importance of
timely information and recommendations provided by the ergonomics engineers and the methods
and tools that are available to improve user acceptance. The professionals in the industry will real-
ize that the days of considering ergonomics as a “commonsense” science and simply “winging-in”
quick xes to achieve user-friendliness are over. The auto industry is facing tough competition and
severe economic constraints. Their products need to be designed “right the rst time” with the right
combinations of features that not only satisfy the customers but continually please and delight them
by providing increased functionality, comfort, convenience, safety, and craftsmanship.
The book is based on my more than 40 years of experience as a human factors researcher,
engineer, manager, and teacher who has performed numerous studies and analyses designed to pro-
vide answers to designers, engineers, and managers involved in designing car and truck products,
primarily for the markets in the United States and Europe. The book is not like many ergonomics
textbooks that compile a lot of information from a large number of references reported in the human
factors and ergonomics literature. I have included only the topics and materials that I found to be
useful in designing car and truck products, and I concentrated on the ergonomic issues generally
discussed in the automotive design studios and product development teams. The book is really about
what an ergonomics engineer should know and do after he or she becomes a member of an automo-
tive product development team and is asked to create an ergonomically superior vehicle.
The book begins with the denitions and goals of ergonomics, historic background, and ergonom-
ics approaches. It covers important human characteristics, capabilities, and limitations considered in
vehicle design in key areas such as anthropometry, biomechanics, and human information process-
ing. Next, the reader is led in understanding how the driver and the occupants are positioned in the
vehicle space and how package drawings and/or computer-aided design models are created from key
vehicle dimensions used in the automobile industry. Various design tools used in the industry for
occupant packaging, driver vision, and applications of other psychophysical methods are described.
The book covers important driver information processing concepts and models and driver error
categories to understand key considerations and principles used in designing controls, displays, and
their usages, including current issues related to driver workload and driver distractions.
A vehicle’s interior dimensions are related to its exterior dimensions in terms of the required
elds of view from the driver’s eye points through various window openings and other indirect
vision devices (e.g., mirrors, cameras). Various eld-of-view measurements, analysis techniques,
visibility requirements, and design areas such as windshield wiper zones, obscurations caused by
car pillars, and the required indirect elds of views are described along with many trade-off con-
siderations. To understand the basics of headlamp beam pattern design and signal lighting perfor-
mance and their photometric requirements, human factor considerations and night visibility issues
are presented. Other customer/user concerns and comfort issues related to entering and exiting the
vehicle, seating, loading and unloading cargo, and other service-related issues (engine and trunk
compartment, refueling the vehicle, etc.) are covered. They provide insights into user considerations
in designing vehicle body and mechanical packaging in terms of important vehicle dimensions
Get Ergonomics in the Automotive Design Process now with the O’Reilly learning platform.
O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.