Directional control-response compatibility of joystick steered shuttle cars (12-04)

Shuttle cars are an unusual class of vehicle in operation in underground coal mines. A directional control-response incompatibility has previously been described in some models which are steered using a steering wheel oriented perpendicular to the direction of travel. Other models are steered via a joystick. A virtual simulation of a joystick steered shuttle car was utilised to determine whether the steering arrangement in these vehicle maintains directional control-response compatibility. Twenty-four participants were randomly assigned to either a condition corresponding to current designs (consistent direction), or a condition in which the directional steering response was reversed while driving in-bye (visual field compatible). Significantly less accurate steering performance was exhibited by the consistent direction group during the in-bye trials only. Current shuttle car designs which provide the joystick steering mechanism described here require operators to compensate for an incompatible directional control-response relationship while driving in-bye.

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