Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Early Design Evaluation of See-Through Automotive A-pillar Concepts Using Digital Human Modeling and Mixed Reality Techniques

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  • Pillars in modern vehicles provide structural integrity by surrounding the windows and joining the roof with the frame. Although they protect the driver and passengers, A-pillars also create obstruction zones by limiting drivers' forward field of view leading to unforeseeable accidents or mishaps. We argue that providing a better pillar design that embodies a human-centered approach could prevent such incidents. In this research, we propose an early design framework that integrates methods of generative design (GD) and digital human modeling (DHM) to demonstrate a proof-of-concept study evaluated using Mixed Reality (MR). The framework assesses whether the concept design approach improves drivers' overall visibility of traffic objects that would otherwise be obscured. The overarching goal of this study is to increase user feedback by creating a human-in-the-loop framework that supports the preliminary design activities early in design before committing to costly physical prototypes. This study demonstrates how designers can quantify obstruction zones and gather user feedback to gain a deeper insight into the A-pillar obstruction problem via DHM and MR early in the design process.
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