Within this theme, we conduct research into the core human factors issues concerning the road transport sector, relating to fundamental goals of safety, efficiency, comfort, positive user experience, and so on.
A particular focus, for which we have a world-wide reputation, addresses the design and evaluation of the Human-Machine Interface (HMI) for future vehicles.
Here, we work closely with industry for maximum impact to address the following three research questions:
- What are the impacts (distraction, workload, trust, acceptance, etc.) of in-car technology on the driver?
- What is the potential for novel HMIs in a driving context, for example, natural speech, augmented reality head-up displays, gesture-driven interfaces, etc.?
- What methods and measures are appropriate for use in the design and evaluation of vehicle-based HMIs?
We have particular expertise in the use of driving simulators as a means of investigating these issues in a safe, controlled and cost-effective environment. In this respect, we have a range of medium and high fidelity simulators and associated equipment (eye tracking, physiological sensors, emotion tracking) for use in our research. Moreover, we commonly use instrumented vehicles as a means of conducting research in more realistic (ecologically valid) environments.
PROSPECT (Proactive Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists)
Prospect is a large 3.5 year project funded by the EU under Horizon 2020 considering the development of next generation collision avoidance systems to account for the needs of vulnerable road users, especially pedestrians and cyclists. There are 19 partners in the project, including many of the major vehicle manufacturers within Europe. A particular emphasis in the work at the University of Nottingham is to understand the implications of false alarms on driver acceptance for this technology and how transparency can be provided in the system design through novel HMIs, for instance augmented reality head-up displays, 3D sounds. Within the Human Factors Research Group, we are also aiming to better understand the cues that anticipate the path of a pedestrian/cyclist when crossing a road or travelling through traffic which the Prospect system can use to improve its prediction algorithms.
HMI Design for Highly Automated Driving
This project is funded by a major vehicle manufacturer and is considering how to design the HMI for future highly automated driving to allow the ‘driver’ to seamlessly resume control of his/her vehicle in a range of different scenarios. A number of driving simulator studies will be conducted with over 60 participants investigating varying HMI configurations. As part of the work, we are also aiming to understand what measures are particularly relevant to the resumption of driving, such as the physical interaction with primary controls, posture changes, speed profiles, eye movements, physiological markers, and so on.
Augmented Reality Navigation HMIs for vehicles
This project is funded by a major vehicle manufacturer and is considering novel HMIs that can support the driver in navigation tasks. In particular, the project will investigate the use of Augmented Reality (AR) graphics presented via future wide field of view Head-Up Displays (HUDs). A number of driving simulator studies will be conducted addressing different aspects of the HMI design in which measures will be taken of navigational performance, visual/cognitive demand, driver acceptance, and so on. The work will directly inform the development of next generation navigation systems for vehicles.
i-Motors is a 2 year Innovate UK project funded under the first call of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle programme. The project is aiming to develop a vehicular cloud computing platform that fuses data from road vehicles with ancillary information relating to the road environment. Within the Human Factors group, we are conducting research related to the key trust and usability issues that will effect drivers’ acceptance of the novel information and services that will arise from the different communication streams. This will include focus groups with drivers considering opinions on driver to driver communications, tasks analyses on future driving, and a series of formative driving simulator studies aiming to develop HMIs for new information/services with maximum trust/acceptance and minimum distraction.