Bachelor thesis

Human Factors

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BHF1 - Range anxiety of prospective electric vehicles users

Supervisor: Suzanne Vosslamber

Nowadays, different strategies are developed to decrease CO2 emissions and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Using an electric vehicle (EV) instead of a vehicle with a combustion engine (VCE) seems a promising strategy. Different European governments, for instance the Dutch government, approved new laws in order to establish tax advantages for citizens that are buying and using new EVs in place of a VCE (Rijksoverheid, 2011). The goal of the Dutch government is to reach one million EVs in the Netherlands in 2025 at the latest.

In order to reach this goal, though, users have to adopt EVs. One major barrier for adopting an EV is the fear of not reaching your destination (i.e. range anxiety). One way to reduce range anxiety might be an improved user-interface design in an EV, which for example helps with providing knowledge to reduce uncertainty or with accurate tracking of the range safety buffer, which in turn might improve user experience when driving an EV (Rauh, Franke, & Krems, 2014). However, research also showed there are individual differences in what people experience as comfortable range, i.e. a user’s preferred range safety buffer (Franke, Günther, Trantow, Rauh & Krems, 2015). Franke and Krems (2013) found that the average user felt comfortable when using 75-80% of the available range resources of their EV. They however pointed out that the average user in their sample is an early adopter, and therefore the number of 75-80% average comfortable range utilization may be the upper limit and not representative for the whole population of car buyers.

The points mentioned above raise questions such as: what is the comfortable range for users that aren’t early adopters? Can we distinguish different types of (prospective) EV users based on their perception of (comfortable) range? How should a display be designed for these users? And should displays be designed differently for different types of users based on their comfortable range? In your thesis you will focus on one or more of these questions by doing qualitative research. You can think of carrying out a user requirements study or creating personas.

References

  • Franke, T., & Krems, J. F. (2013). Interacting with limited mobility resources: Psychological range levels in
  • electric vehicle use. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 48, 109-122.
  • doi:10.1016/j.tra.2012.10.010
  • Franke, T., Günther, M., Trantow, M., Rauh, N., & Krems, J. F. (2015). The range comfort zone of electric
  • vehicle users – concept and assessment. IET Intelligent Transport Systems, 9(7), 740-745.
  • doi:10.1049/iet-its.2014.0169 
  • Rauh, N., Franke, T., & Krems, J. F. (2014). User experience with electric vehicles while driving in a
  • critical range situation – A qualitative approach. IET Intelligent Transport Systems, 9(7), 734-739.
  • doi:10.1049/iet-its.2014.0214
  • Rijksoverheid (2011). Plan van aanpak elektrisch vervoer. Retrived from
  • www.rijksoverheid.nl/bestanden/documenten-en-publicaties/richtlijnen/2011/10/03/ bijlage-2-
  • plan-van-aanpak-elektrisch-vervoer-elektrisch-rijden-in-de-versnelling/bijlage-2-plan-van-aanpak-elektrisch-vervoer-elektrisch-rijden-in-de-versnelling.pdf
BHF2 - The vigilant brain

Supervisor: dr. R.H.J. van der Lubbe

The vigilant state of an individual is known to vary over time. The electroencephalogram (EEG) is generally considered to be one of the best online measures of the state of the brain. For example, drowsiness is easy visible due to an increase in lower frequencies like theta and delta activity. However, changes in attentional processes over time may be more subtle and less easy to detect. A new task, the sustained lateral attention task will be employed that allows to extract a new direct attentional index based on wavelet analyses of the EEG (e.g., see Van der Lubbe & Utzerath, 2013). A few participants will be instructed to attend during a series of trials to either the left or the right of a screen, while sometimes a to be detected target will occur. The validity of the new attentional index will be examined by examining its predictive power for attentional lapses.