Comparison of Driver Behavior and Performance in Two Driving Simulators 2008-01-0562
This paper presents results of a study conducted to compare driving behavior and performance of drivers in two different fixed-base driving simulators (namely, FAAC and STI) while performing a same set of distracting tasks under geometrically similar freeway and traffic conditions. The FAAC simulator had a wider three-screen road view with steering feedback as compared to the STI simulator which had a single screen and narrower road view and had no steering feedback. Twenty four subjects (12 younger and 12 mature) drove each simulator and were asked to perform a set of nine different tasks involving different distracting elements such as, using a cell phone, operating the car radio, retrieving and selecting a map from map pocket in the driver's door, collecting coins to pay toll, etc. The results showed that the driver behavioral measures, such as number of glances made in performing a task, total task completing time, and the NASA TLX workload ratings obtained differed due to the differences in the tasks. However, the behavioral measures and the NASA TLX ratings showed remarkably similar behavior in the two simulators. The drivers' driving performance measured by maximum lane deviation, average speed, and number of accidents were significantly different in the two simulators. The driver performance was significantly better while driving the FAAC simulator than in the STI simulator. The results, thus, showed while the demand placed on the drivers due to the distracting tasks produced similar glance behavior and task loadings in the two simulators, the narrower road view and lack of steering feedback in the STI simulator produced substantially degraded driving performance than the performance observed in the FAAC simulator.