August 19, 2010

Now, in-car driving coach that reminds you to keep your eyes on the road

Cell phones, music players, and a numerous other gadgets in cars pose a constant problem – distraction for the drivers. But soon, in-car coach could solve this problem.

Professor Linda Ng Boyle from University of Washington has developed an in-car driving coach, an electronic device that reminds you to keep your eyes on the road if it finds your vision wandering away from the road.

The coach uses an eye tracker to monitor drivers’ gaze.

“By providing continual feedback, drivers may be more likely to learn from their mistakes and put their eyes back on the road,” said Boyle.

In the study, the high-risk drivers’ longest glances tended to be between 2 1/2 seconds and 3 seconds. They also had the shortest time to collision, a measure of how long until they could crash.

After the drive, a trip report summarized what the driver did right and wrong.

The coach decreased the length of high-risk drivers’ glances by an average of 0.4 seconds and the feedback also increased the high-risk drivers’ time to collision by roughly 8 seconds.

“I think that drivers are coachable,” Boyle said.

“The worst drivers can benefit the most, because we can change their behavior the most dramatically. We can also reinforce the good behavior for safer drivers,” she added.

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