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Driver distraction and in-car information systems

  • 14 Dec 2011
  • 7:00 PM
  • Bahen Room 1200 (main floor)
ABSTRACT: Advances in information technology, telecommunications, and sensor design are transforming the types of tasks, and associated human-machine interactions (HMIs), that people deal with while driving.

Different tasks generate additional physical, perceptual, and cognitive workload that may lead to overload or to inattention whilst driving. From the viewpoint of HMI design for in-car information systems, the challenge is thus to design interactions that are usable and efficient without unduly compromising driving safety .

In our research project, we focus on understanding the mechanisms by which different HMI styles affect driver workload. We conducted two experiments and measured multitasking performance across a range of device interfaces. We also investigated the relationship between task performance and three measures of cognitive capacity (assessing the executive processes of shifting, inhibition, and updating, respectively) in order to understand how demands placed on cognitive resources by device interfaces may lead to impaired driving performance.

The results showed that different levels of capacity on the three executive processes were associated with different levels of multitasking performance, suggesting a potential for future profiling of device interactions and tasks in terms of their cognitive requirements.

BIO: Sachi Mizobuchi is chief scientist of Vocalage Inc. and a visiting scientist in the Mechanical and Industrial Department of the University of Toronto. She has more than 16 years experience in carrying out human factors research and design in the telecommunication, mobile phone, and automobile industries, working for research organizations within NTT, Nokia, and the Toyota InfoTechnology Center.
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