This paper is concerned with developing a method to measure a driver’s muscle activation strategy during driving, to enable validation of a mathematical model. Electromyography (EMG) was successfully used to measure driver muscle activity. Regression analysis of the EMG data, measured from the right arm of one test subject, was used to determine the key muscles involved in generating steering torque. The significant muscles were found to be the mid and front deltoid, the sternal portion of the pectoralis major, and the triceps long head. Using the identified regression parameters and measured EMG from key muscles, forces generated by the driver at the rim of the steering wheel were predicted under isometric conditions. The method was further developed and measurements were taken from the left and right arms of eight test subjects. Using regression analysis a model that predicts steering torque from the EMG signals was generated. The method also allows co-contraction of opposing muscles to be identified during a dynamic steering maneuver. Muscle co-contraction is thought to be a significant control strategy employed by drivers, and is the subject of further work.

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