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Let your fingers do the driving
Date:9/26/2010

e study by driving the simulator. The screens that surround the driver's seat on three sides displayed a scene in which the driver was in the center lane of three straight freeway lanes, with no other traffic.

Four driving scenarios were used, each lasting six minutes and including, in random order, 12 cues to the driver to move to the right lane and 12 more to move left.

In two scenarios, the simulator drivers did not talk on cell phones and received direction instructions either from the simulator's computer voice or via the fingertip devices on the steering wheel. In the two other scenarios, the drivers talked on cell phones with a person in the laboratory and also received direction instructions, either from the computer voice or from the touch devices on the steering wheel.

Each participant did all four of the scenarios. The results:

  • In the two scenarios without cell phones, the drivers' accuracy in correctly moving left or right was nearly identical for those who received tactile directions through their fingertips (97.2 percent) or by computerized voice (97.6 percent).

  • That changed when the drivers talked on cell phones while operating the simulator. When drivers received fingertip navigation directions while talking, they were accurate 98 percent of the time, but when they received audio cues to turn right or left while talking on a cell phone, they changed lanes correctly only 74 percent of the time.

Strayer says the findings shouldn't be used to encourage cell phone use while driving because even if giving drivers directional information by touch works, "it's not going to help you with the other things you need to do while driving watching out for pedestrians, noticing traffic lights, all the things you need to pay attention to."

A Touch of Product Development?

Provancher has patents and wants t
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Contact: Lee J. Siegel
leesiegel@ucomm.utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4 5

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