Browse Publications Technical Papers 2006-01-0814

Incorporating Hard Disks in Vehicles- Usages and Challenges 2006-01-0814

With recent advances in microprocessors and data storage technologies, vehicle users can now bring or access large amounts of data in vehicles for purposes such as communication (e.g. e-mail, phone books), entertainment (e.g. music and video files), browsing and searching for information (e.g. on-board computers and internet). The challenge for the vehicle designer is how to design data displays and retrieval methods to allow data search and manipulation tasks by managing driver workload at safe acceptable levels. This paper presents a data retrieval menu system developed to assess levels of screens (depth of menu) that may be needed to select required information when a vehicle is equipped with the capability to access audio files, cell phone, PDA, e-mail and “On-star” type functions. Implementing the basic principle of “7 plus or minus 2 magic number” to account for human information processing limitations -- to retrieve information in tasks such as selection of a data source, selection of a function within the source, and further selection of required tasks -- can easily lead to a 5-6 levels or steps of menus. Studies reported by the author and others in the literature using driving simulators suggest that such tasks, when incorporated in visual screens, will require the drivers to make over 5-8 glances. In performing the tasks of such levels of difficulty can increase lane position variability (e.g. increase in lane position standard deviations by about 50%). Thus, new approaches are needed to reduce driver distractions. The paper discusses some solutions and challenges in overcoming the data retrieval problems.


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