Automotive User Interfaces

 Anthropometric data for dominant thumb reach on steering wheel

 Anthropometric data for dominant thumb reach on steering wheel

Over the last decade the car has become more than just a means of transportation. Through the integration of modern navigation, communication, and entertainment technologies, the car has become a "technology hub" that poses challenging interface problems.

There are a number of differences between cars and many other technology platforms. Driving a car should always be considered the primary task, as driving errors have the potential to lead to disastrous consequences, both for the driver, but also for passengers or other people who are participants in traffic. The use of technology, and the design of automotive user interfaces, thus has to be scrutinized more deeply than  other discretionary technology uses that occur in a safe and less stressful environment. Automation or assistive driving technologies might change this dynamic in the future, but these raise their own issues of supervisory control and driver-out-of-the-loop situations.

Thumb gestures with mode selection on steering wheel

Thumb gestures with mode selection on steering wheel

In our joint Idaho Driving Simulation lab, we have looked at a number of issues related to driving. My focus has been more on the display of information inside the vehicle, driver distraction, and automotive user interfaces to interact with secondary and tertiary systems, whereas Dr. Dyre's group has looked more extensively at driver behavior in response to environmental conditions and the design of modern roadways and signage.



Real cab - virtual road

Real cab - virtual road

Our Idaho Driving Simulator consists of a full S10 pickup cab and National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) software that allows us to provide visual information to the driver through seven channels (three channels for the 135º forward field of view, two side mirrors, a rearview display, and a last display for dashboard instrumentation.)

The simulator has a fixed base - which means that it is not moving during a simulated drive unlike some very expensive, high-fidelity motion base driving simulators that exist only in a few laboratories and car company research centers around the world. But even without the actual motion of the vehicle we can test many perceptual and cognitive aspects of driving.

The simulator was recently the centerpiece of an article written by the research & economic development team. It includes an interview with Brian on his research on passing lanes - you can see it here.


Papers / Proceedings

Werner, S. (2014, Sept). The Steering Wheel as a Touch Interface: Using Thumb-Based Gesture Interfaces as Control Inputs While Driving. AutomotiveUI'14 Adjunct, Sep 17-19 2014, Seattle, WA, USA.
ACM 978-1-4503-0725-3/14/09. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2667239.2667299

Ulrich, T.A., Spielman, Z., Holmberg, J., Hoover, C., Sanders, N., Gohil, K., & Werner, S. (2013). Playing Charades With Your Car – The Potential of Free-form and Contact-based  Gestural Interfaces for Human Vehicle Interaction. Proceedings of the the 57th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, September 30-October 4, 2013, San Diego

Viita, D. & Werner, S. (2006, October).  Alignments Effects on Simple Turn Decisions in Track-up and North-up Maps. In Proceedings of the 50th annual meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 1519-23.  San Francisco, CA.  (awarded best student presentation by HFES Perception and Performance Technical Group)