TTI, Texas A&M Partner on Senior Driver Assistance Technologies Study

Last updated: 05-24-2020

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TTI, Texas A&M Partner on Senior Driver Assistance Technologies Study

TTI Human Factors Program Manager and Senior Research Scientist Michael Manser recently concluded a study in which he partnered with Ranjana Mehta, associate professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and director of Texas A&M’s NeuroErgonomics Laboratory. The study examined how senior drivers prefer to learn about assistance technologies. Researchers discovered that senior adults were more likely to use advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) if they learn them through videos instead of manuals or in-person demonstrations.

According to Manser, “Determining how drivers learn to use advanced vehicle technologies is increasingly critical as our vehicles become increasingly complicated but are not accompanied by proper training.”

Manser analyzed data with Maryam Zahabi, assistant professor in Texas A&M’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and director of the University’s Human-System Interaction Lab. Study findings were printed in the January issue of the journal Applied Ergonomics.

“With ADAS, some of the mental workload related to driving can be taken off, and we’ve shown that instructional videos are the best way to introduce ADAS to seniors,” Zahabi explains. “We hope that this insight will lead to better video-based training materials for this age group so that senior safety while driving is enhanced.”

Senior drivers often have a hard time multitasking, such as simultaneously using cruise control while reading road signs. The researchers studied responses from 20 drivers aged 58 to 68, completing participant evaluations in the TTI Driving Simulator that replicated driving on a roadway. Researchers tracked where the drivers were looking and monitored brain activity as well.

“Videos, we think, are effective because they can be paused, rewound and reviewed multiple times, giving seniors a sense of control over what they are learning and at what pace,” says Zahabi.

“These results and others from the project have already been shared with driver education and training agencies throughout the United States and abroad to aid in the design of curriculum for all ages,” Manser notes. “This was a great opportunity for work conducted at Texas A&M to impact driver safety.”


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