To End Distracted Driving, MIT Figures Out How People Really Drive

To End Distracted Driving, MIT Figures Out How People Really Drive

A story about the AgeLab-helmed Advanced Human Factors Evaluator for Automotive Demand Consortium (AHEAD) has appeared in Wired.

Nearly 40,000 people died on American roads last year, and experts believe the damage done by distraction has spiked. If only the divertissements inside your car worked with you, if they knew exactly when you needed to keep two eyes on the road—and didn't beckon you to do the opposite. Getting them to do that is the goal of researchers with the MIT AgeLab and Touchstone Evaluations, a human factors engineering firm based in Michigan. Funded by major auto and tech players like Denso, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Google, and Panasonic, the researchers are working to accurately to model how humans act inside cars, and shape their behavior to keep them safe.

Last week, the team released a paper that seeks to capture human "attentional awareness" in mathematical terms—with an algorithm. One day soon, they hope auto suppliers and designers will use this knowledge to build products that will aid drivers in, you know, not killing themselves and others.

“Upstream, further prior to an event, we begin to see failures in attention allocation that are indicative of less awareness in the operating environment in the crash events,” says AgeLab Research Scientist Bryan Reimer. In other words: The problems that cause crashes start well before the crunch.

Read the full article here.