Distracted Drivers and Vehicle Design Briefing offered by CAR

The Center for Automotive Research will hold a seminar on the challenges of designing and developing connected vehicles that are under increasing attack by safety advocates for enabling distracted driving. The program called “Driver Distraction and HMI Challenges for Connected Vehicles” will bring together experts who are trying to make vehicles and their varied communications systems safer and easier to use for drivers.

The automotive electronics evolution has seen increasing emphasis on connected vehicle systems, driver assistance systems, and above all infotainment systems. Given the potential for these systems to cause huge drops in customer satisfaction, as Ford Motor learned with its My Touch and My Sync systems, it is not surprising that auto companies are now hiring people with experience in human factors engineering, human-machine interface, and mobile device technology. The latest briefing is one of a series CAR offers on relevant topics of interest to industry professionals. (See Ford, Lincoln Change Touch Screens after Quality Ratings Dive )

“As we approach the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s likely 2013 Notice of Regulatory Intent on vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology for safety, the automotive industry must address the human factors challenges that may come with pervasive and ubiquitous vehicle communications,” said Richard Wallace, director of CAR’s Transportation Systems Analysis group and moderator of the event.

“To ensure that we get the most value out of these technologies, industry and its partners must develop and implement helpful human-machine interfaces and minimize the potential for driver distraction,” said Wallace.

Speakers include experts who will offer their thoughts on how to benefit from connectivity while avoiding the risks—specifically driver distraction and overload. The event, sponsored by Agero, will focus on the latest naturalistic driving research and analysis, addressing performance of voice recognition and speech systems, for in-vehicle tasks.

The program is on 28 September 2012 at the VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College. To register, visit www.cargroup.org.

SAE International will hold three professional development courses in conjunction with Convergence 2012 this October 16-17 in Detroit. In a focus on the latest technology now used in automotive electronics, seminars will be on Autonomous Vehicle Positioning Systems, Wireless Communications in the Autonomous Connected Vehicle, and Software Architectures and Security for Connected Vehicular Systems. (See SAE Convergence 2012 offers Telematics Courses on Connected Cars)

In addition to the professional development courses, SAE International will hold a Focus Group Breakfast Meeting on Wednesday morning to have connected vehicle experts review SAE International’s offerings and to share thoughts on market potential. For more information about the seminars, or to register, Call SAE Customer Service at 1-877-606-7323 (U.S. and Canada only) or 1-724-776-4970 (outside U.S. and Canada); or email customerservice@sae.org.

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About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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1 Response to Distracted Drivers and Vehicle Design Briefing offered by CAR

  1. Hey There Ken,
    Along the same lines,, Are Cars Getting Too Smart? An industry debates new auto technology:

    Driven a new car lately? Let’s go for a ride. Backing out, the car beeps to warn a pedestrian walking by. A dashboard light illuminates if the vehicle ahead is too close. A side mirror light flashes, signaling a truck behind you in the blind spot — not a good moment to pass. And if the car senses you’re drowsy or driving erratically, a chime sounds an alert.

    Resembling computers on wheels, many of the latest vehicles are loaded with sensors, lasers, cameras and crash warning systems that alert drivers to blind spots and impending collisions — or when they’re drifting too far out of their lane. If the driver fails to respond, some models assume control and apply the brakes. Other options assist with the pesky chore of parallel parking or maintain a safe distance between vehicles.

    The aim of all the bells and whistles is, of course, safety. Such gee-whiz technology could protect older drivers, whose most common accident is failure to yield in an intersection, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Reaction time slows and vision changes with age. Drivers over age 70 may misjudge the speed of an oncoming car, and those age 80 and older may fail to see the other vehicle at all. So these warning devices could indeed save lives.

    But how much is too much? Could older drivers, whose adaptation to new technology may take a little longer, be more at risk from the very safety features meant to protect them? The federal government, the auto industry and the research community are debating the potential for driver distraction from too many chimes, beeps, computerized voices, vibrating steering wheels and lights flashing on dashboards, windshields or side mirrors.

    “If a three-inch light on your dashboard illuminates because you’re too close to the car in front, you may look down at the dashboard first,” says Bryan Reimer, a research scientist who studies human-machine interface at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab.

    Dick Myrick understands how easily attention can waver. As a participant in a mid-2009 MIT study on driver distraction, he drove an SUV on major interstate highways while wired to an EKG machine that monitored his heart rate. In an exercise designed to mimic distraction, he was asked to recall numbers in a sequence, then punch them into a keypad or say them aloud. “It was distracting and very stressful,” says Myrick, 62, a retired engineer from Arlington, Mass. “My heart rate went up.”

    Auto manufacturers are grappling with how to make high-tech gadgetry more user-friendly. Recent consumer complaints about Ford’s on-board computer system, MyFord Touch, led to a downgrading of the automaker by Consumer Reports and J.D. Powers & Associates. Ford is now addressing issues with the system that has two five-way switch pads on the steering wheel and multiple screen displays.

    Thanks so much I appreciate it!
    Thanks

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