Lookie Here! Designing Directional User Indicators across Displays in Conditional Driving Automation 2020-01-1201
With the advent of autonomous vehicles, the human driver’s attention will slowly be relinquished from the driving task. It will allow drivers to participate in more non-driving related activities, such as engaging with information and entertainment systems. However, the automated driving system would need to notify the driver of upcoming points-of-interest on the road when the driver’s attention is focused on their screen rather than on the road or driving display. In this paper, we investigated whether providing directional alerts for an upcoming point-of-interest (POI) in or around the user’s active screen can augment their ability in relocating their visual attention to the POI on the road when traveling in a vehicle with Conditional Driving Automation. A user study (N = 15) was conducted to compare solutions for alerts that presented themselves in the participants’ central and peripheral field of view. The participants were seated in a low-fidelity Conditional Driving Automation (CDA) scene and distracted by playing a game on a tablet screen (iPad). During two different periods of immersion(30 sec and 2 mins), while playing the game, the autonomous vehicle would encounter a POI on the road which it would communicate to the participant via an alert. A non-directional alert was used as the baseline, and was compared to two separate directional solutions, located at the center or the periphery of the screen, to better understand how direction data can assist participants with switching their attention back to the POI on the road. We compared the participants’ reaction times for the three solutions across the two immersion times. Our findings imply that designing user interfaces (UIs) with directional alerts can facilitate a driver’s attention switch from non-driving related screen tasks back to the road. However, different immersion conditions could influence the effectiveness of different forms of directional alerts. The reaction time benefits vary widely by context that drivers have been engaged in a secondary task.