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Center for Transportation Studies

System Performance and Human Factors Evaluation of the Driver Assistive System (DAS): Supplemental Track Test Evaluation

Mick Rakauskas, Nic Ward, Craig Shankwitz, Max Donath
November 2003
Report no. MnDOT 2004-12 1406


This track test supplements an attempted field operational test (Rakauskas et al., 2003) which did not provide enough experience using the Driver Assistive System (DAS) during low-visibility conditions to make reasonable conclusions on driving performance. This study aimed to determine the usefulness of the DAS in the context of simulated low-visibility conditions. Drivers drove in clear, low-visibility, and DAS-assisted low-visibility conditions. Driving performance measures were taken while driving and drivers were asked workload, trust, and subjective response questions after each condition and post-experiment. The DAS enabled drivers to maintain consistent lane position and to make fewer steering corrections than while driving the low-visibility condition. Using the DAS during low-visibility conditions did not change speed performance and aided the driver by providing additional information about the road. More mental effort was reported while assisted by the DAS than while driving unassisted in the low-visibility condition. This was expected since drivers were presented with and were expected to mentally process more information while assisted. Many of the trends found were consistent with our previous thoughts on how the DAS would perform. However, due to the small number of drivers tested in the FOT and track testing studies there was low power for our statistical analyses. We encourage further research with the DAS on larger numbers of drivers or in a more powerful study design. Some changes are also recommended for future versions, such as providing a warning prior to loss of GPS fix. Project study to assess the usefulness of the Driver Assistive System (DAS) in the context of driving snowplows in low-visibility conditions on a test track. The system was found to be useful; several design improvements to the system are suggested to maximize its effectiveness.

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Sponsored by: Minnesota Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration