Reducing Driver Distraction with Touchpad Physics
|Title||Reducing Driver Distraction with Touchpad Physics|
|Year of Publication||2013|
|Thesis Type||Master of Mechanical Engineer|
Once the domain of purely physical controls such as knobs, levers, buttons, and sliders, the vehicle dash is rapidly transforming into a computer interface. This presents a challenge for drivers, because the physics-based cues which make traditional controls easy to operate with limited visual confirmation are absent on traditional screens. We investigate the addition of programmable physics-based cues to a visual display as a method to reduce eyes-off-road time. A TPaD variable friction touchpad was installed in the Ford VIRTTEX motion driving simulator. Subjects performed target acquisition and slider adjustment tasks under visual, visual/haptic, and haptic feedback conditions. For the two tasks, we found that the visual/haptic condition resulted in 39% and 19% decreases in total eyes-off-road time per task while showing negligible differences in task performance. Subjects showed a clear preference for combined visual and haptic feedback.