Jaguar Land Rover is strengthening its engagement with the world’s leading technology businesses and academic bodies with its involvement in a project that aims to reduce the potential for driver distraction in future vehicle human machine interface (HMI) systems.
By joining the AHEAD (Advanced Human Factors Evaluator for Automotive Distraction) consortium, Jaguar Land Rover will be working with MIT AgeLab, DENSO and Touchstone Evaluations on methods for measuring the demands made on drivers by the latest HMI technologies. This will help to determine new systems that will minimise distraction while delivering convenient, intuitive, engaging and safe operation and meeting potential future industry and regulatory requirements.
The consortium brings together leading researchers, vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to take a new look at how the demands of using voice controls, touchscreens and switchgear can be reliably and effectively measured. AHEAD’s goal is to produce a quantifiable, objective evaluation toolkit that can be used across the industry to support new HMI development. This will improve the effectiveness and reliability of data and help manufacturers and electronics suppliers to produce new interfaces that meet all manufacturer, consumer and regulatory requirements.
Jaguar Land Rover’s involvement in AHEAD is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships and academic collaborations that reinforce its research and development of advanced engineering and design capabilities. This is also the first time Jaguar Land Rover has collaborated on a project with MIT.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Research and Technology, said: “The opportunities to provide drivers with access to comprehensive and sophisticated information and communication systems while at the wheel continue to increase at an exceptional rate. While our vision is that our customers will benefit from the most effective, engaging and responsive in-car technologies, we have to be sure that they can be accessed and operated intuitively and safely, with the minimum distraction.
“Our work with MIT AgeLab, DENSO and our other partners in AHEAD will put us in the forefront of understanding the workload placed on the driver. This will be of crucial importance in our development of the future systems we want to deliver to keep pace with the rapid expansion of vehicle and communications technologies.”
Doug Patton, Senior Vice President of Engineering at DENSO America, Inc, said: “We know drivers want to be connected while driving, but how do we safely give drivers what they want? To do this we need to evaluate driver workload, but currently there isn’t a quantifiable and objective metrology model in place. Not to mention, there’s a high price tag attached to researching and developing something like this. With that said, forming a consortium will help reach the goal of establishing a common methodology.”
The current methods for evaluating HMI technologies mainly use criteria developed before the introduction of modern systems such as voice controls, touchscreens and multi-function controllers. They also don’t take into account the impact of the driver moving between different modes of use, such as vision, touch, sound, haptics, gesture and cognition. AHEAD aims to make it more feasible to evaluate demands at an early prototype stage, when design changes can be made more easily and effectively, rather than later in the vehicle development process.
MIT AgeLab has taken a lead in using multi-dimensional assessment, measuring physiological, visual attention and performance measures as part of its HMI evaluation. Dr Bryan Reimer, Associate Director of the New England University Transportation Center at MIT and the MIT technical lead for AHEAD, explained: “Physiological measures complement traditional visual attention and performance measures to provide a more complete picture of the interacting demands of modern HMI.”