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Investigating the immediate effects of periodic alerts to assist in maintenance of vigilance during automated vehicle operation

Document Number:N2007-025
Document Type:Conference paper
Author(s):Ben Dow
Timothy Brown
Cheryl Roe
Chris Schwarz
Zach Bonefas
Jerry Duncan
Julian Sanchez
Publication / Venue Name:Driving Simulation Conference-North America 2007
Publication Date:2007-09-01
Abstract:With the advancement of technology, the presence of automated systems has continued to increase in a variety of environments, including ground transportation. A continuing challenge with increased automation is designing systems that help operators stay in the loop, thus ensuring that they will be able to react when necessary. The means of countering vigilance decrements associated with automation have ranged from such devices as “Dead Man” switches to more complex computer-based interventions that require constant operator attention. This study examined the utility of periodic auditory alerts that required a response by the operator. Fourteen adults drove under automated control in one practice drive and three study drives with a total duration of approximately 75 minutes. At the end of each drive, participants rated their fatigue using a visual analog scale. During two of the three study drives, participants were presented with periodic alerts that required acknowledgement by pressing a button located on the operator’s armrest. The immediate effects of these alerts on the operator were recorded. Analysis of the data revealed that operators acknowledged all of the alerts but that there was no statistical difference in reaction time between operator state conditions. Additional analyses revealed that following the alert, operators were more likely to observe the environment outside the cab and were more awake. This study provides useful insights into the effects of periodic alerts used to assist operators of automated control vehicles.
Copyright:None listed
Keywords:None listed

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