Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wake up! New technology shakes-up droopy-eyed drivers

Keeping drivers awake ...

"If you've ever found yourself heavy-eyed behind the wheel, you should wake up and smell the technology being developed to alert drowsy drivers.

Researchers will discuss results of four different alarm systems at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 50th Annual Meeting on Thursday. The alarms are designed to give drivers a bit of a jolt when their car drifts out of the lane accidentally.

Using a miniature camera mounted to a vehicle's roof, a computer watches road markings to see if the driver is paying attention. When they're not, one or a combination of four alarms prod them into action:

The steering wheel "suggests" moving back into the lane

Recorded sound of rumble strips plays

Flashing lights on the dash instrumentation appear

The steering wheel starts vibrating

Using Ford's VIRtual Test Track Experiment - a hydraulically-powered moving simulator - researchers had some sleep-deprived drivers put the alarm systems to the test: After not sleeping for 23 hours, the drivers had to operate their cars under various road conditions for three hours."    (Continued via Discovery Reports Canada)    [Usability Resources]

Ford VIRtual Test Track - Usability, User Interface Design

Ford VIRtual Test Track

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