Daimlerchrysler Research on Driver Distraction

By: Dwyane Thomas

DaimlerChrysler maker of quality --- in order to improve further customer satisfaction have conducted a research that will find out how well drivers are in operating onboard controls. The German-American automaker is conducting the research as part of the early stage of their vehicle development. By employing a special type of simulator DaimlerChrysler's researchers will be able to determine whether systems can be easily and intuitively operated. This process enables the researchers to come up with interior designs and auto components not necessarily a new type of that will work best for customers and at the same time reduces the high cost that goes with trial and error designs.

For this special purpose the researchers from DaimlerChrysler have developed a human-machine simulator in which a test person is required to carry out specific tasks that are usually encountered in normal driving situations. He or she is called upon to operate a system. Operating such system would test the person's attentiveness and will then be evaluated on the basis of objective and subjective criteria.

Aside from the deviation from the ideal track, the objective parameters incorporate data from the gaze monitor which records the frequency or the number of times that the driver diverts his or her attention to the operating system and away from the road. In short, this process also analyzed the appropriate manual input behavior. These parameters enable the engineers to calculate the level of distraction that a driver obtains from say, traffic.

This very same evaluation also takes subjective values into account. The candidate's personal assessment of the driving test is determined in the form of an interview involving catalogue questions. Depending on the provided tasks, various categories and points of emphasis are prescribed. The combination of subjective and objective data ultimately provides a coherent, informative overall picture.

The texts are conducted by around 20 to 30 selected test persons from various interest groups with diverse driving styles. A selection process is held in choosing the test persons to participate on the said research. This is also one way of determining effectively the degree of operability of a certain function. For this special purpose, in each series of tests several proposed operating modules for a specific function can be interchanged without the excessive technical effort.

When necessary, the researches are also carried out under genuine driving conditions wherein researchers make use of the same vehicle type but fitted out for a more normal road traffic operation. Such is employed as a supplement to the human-machine simulator.

Again depending on the task at hand, the scientists from DaimlerChrysler have developed various methods for carrying out both standard and tailor-made tests. And for each development phase of a vehicle, they have a refined tool at their disposal that will help them to obtain a holistic and verifiable picture of the operating module in question as well as the appropriate integration of their findings.

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