Leveraging smart devices to design against driver distractions and boredom

Steinberger, Fabius (2016) Leveraging smart devices to design against driver distractions and boredom. In BMW Summer School: Car as a Service – Creating Tomorrow’s Smart Mobility Service Platform, 18-23 July 2016, Lake Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Smart devices and internet connectivity have become part of our everyday lives. As a result, there has been an increase in drivers accessing social media and apps behind the steering wheel, and mobile devices are often portrayed as unwanted distractions. Regardless of punitive strategies such as fines and demerit points, drivers will continue to bring their own devices and use them within the car. I explore how these technologies can be re­-contextualised as tools in individual mobility rather than road safety threats. Specifically, I critically analyse the challenges and opportunities in the design of apps to alleviate driver boredom and re­engage drivers during periods of under­stimulation. The concept involves the use of real­time data, location­based services, ambient interface design, and gamification to provide safe stimuli while driving.

My data indicates that driver boredom is most likely to occur in low­stimulation conditions such as routine drives, speed maintaining, or low traffic. This uncomfortable state may then trigger the seeking of distractions (e.g. phone use), which in turn can lead to accidents. Intervening in such a way that it makes low­-stimulation driving more engaging and less boring could have safety and user experience benefits. Semi­automated driving further amplifies the significance of this work. A cutback in manual control is likely to cause boredom states more often, yet requires drivers to remain vigilant and take over control at any time.

To date, boredom and under­-stimulation have not received much attention in the automotive user interfaces and road safety research communities, where the emphasis has been on cognitive load and distraction. My work aims to explore this knowledge gap. I use a user­centred design approach to address the question: How can we leverage mobile and wearable devices to re­engage drivers in the driving task? I argue that these devices can be used for 1) sensing vehicle and driver data, and 2) as platforms for engaging apps to reduce unsafe distractions and boredom. As part of this endeavour, I explore ambient interface design and gamification as ways to provide real­time driving feedback and engage users in the driving task. Applying user­-centred design and reframing distraction as engagement is a new and provocative approach. Insights gained from this research study will deepen our understanding of driver engagement, which is as relevant to manual driving as it is to semi­automated mobility.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 96848
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Distraction, Boredom, Driving, Autonomous, Smart devices
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING (080500) > Mobile Technologies (080502)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING (080500) > Ubiquitous Computing (080504)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600) > Computer-Human Interaction (080602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700) > Human Information Behaviour (080703)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING (090200) > Automotive Safety Engineering (090204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Digital and Interaction Design (120304)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Sensory Processes Perception and Performance (170112)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > COGNITIVE SCIENCE (170200) > Computer Perception Memory and Attention (170201)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Facilities: CARRS-Q Advanced Driving Simulator
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 12 Jul 2016 22:15
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 06:16

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