Evaluating the Demands of “Voice-Command” Interfaces on Driver Behavior

Speaker: Bryan Reimer , MIT AgeLab

Date: Monday, March 10, 2014

Time: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Refreshments: 2:45 PM

Public: Yes

Location: 32-G882 (Stata Center - Hewlett Room)

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Room Description:

Host: Jim Glass, MIT CSAIL

Contact: Marcia G. Davidson, 617-253-3049, marcia@csail.mit.edu

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/reimer/www/

Speaker URL: None

Speaker Photo:
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Reminders to: seminars@csail.mit.edu, sls-seminars@csail.mit.edu

Reminder Subject: TALK: Evaluating the Demands of “Voice-Command” Interfaces on Driver Behavior

In recent years, “voice command” interfaces have been proposed as a means to allow drivers to engage with an expanding array of entertainment and connectivity options in the modern automobile while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel. A large number of studies have assessed interactions with experimental voice interfaces. Much less research is available that has examined driver behavior with production level vehicle systems. There is thus limited information on how production level voice command interfaces actually impact driver attention and how the characteristics of the interface can be optimized to better support driver attention. This talk will describe results from a series of field and laboratory studies conducted to assess driver attentional demands arising from interaction with production level voice command embedded vehicle systems and portable technologies. The field studies were conceived and implemented with the goal of developing a comprehensive assessment of the demands systems in various configurations place on drivers’ attention under real-world highway driving conditions. The efforts considered drivers across a broad age spectrum. Depending on the system configuration considered, tasks assessed and measures evaluated, both positive features and possible issues associated with the attentional demands of the voice interface were identified. Overall, the results show that cognitive demands, as characterized by physiological arousal, appear lower than initial expectations. However, in certain instances, visual activity and driver orientation towards the in-vehicle display were illustrative of higher demands than might have been expected in the context of a “voice” interface. These findings suggest that there are advantages and challenges associated with voice-based interaction that need to be considered and balanced in interface design. Finally, most in-vehicle voice command interfaces should more correctly be identified as multimodal interfaces, as they typically include visual feedback and alternative response modes in addition to voice. In summary, the talk will show that drivers’ interactions with these multi-modal systems can draw upon a wide array of attentional demands, often result in compensatory changes in driving behavior, and highlight the need for ongoing work to better understand the generalizability of observations. These issues are relevant in the design of in-vehicle and hand-held (smartphone and portable) technologies, and other uses of voice interactions.

Bryan Reimer, Ph.D., is a Research Engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab and the Associate Director of the New England University Transportation Center. His research seeks to develop new models and methodologies to measure and understand human behavior in dynamic environments utilizing physiological signals, visual behavior monitoring, and overall performance measures. Dr. Reimer leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers and students focused on understanding how drivers respond to the increasing complexity of the operating environment and on finding solutions to the next generation of human factors challenges associated with distracted driving, automation and other in-vehicle technologies. He directs work focused on how drivers across the lifespan are affected by in-vehicle interfaces, safety systems, portable technologies, different types and levels of cognitive load. This research also assesses the impact of medical impairments such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, ADHD and autism. Dr. Reimer is an author on over 85 peer reviewed journal and conference papers. Dr. Reimer is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a Ph.D. in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

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This event is not part of a series.

Created by Marcia G. Davidson Email at Wednesday, March 05, 2014 at 1:00 PM.