Research Papers

The Effects of Auditory Cue Type and Behavioural Adaptation in Older and Younger Drivers Using a Lane Departure Warning System

Version 1
Date added June 26, 2017
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Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 2A
Author/Auteur Bruce Haycock
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



A Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) is a commonly integrated Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) in modern vehicles. Empirical research has demonstrated conflicting results about the effectiveness of an LDWS on driving safety, with some showing beneficial effects and others reporting negative driving outcomes. These conflicting results may be due, in part, to the inconsistencies in the types of cueing being implemented (e.g. auditory versus tactile) and the properties of these cues. It is also possible that there may be differences among user populations (e.g. older versus younger drivers) in terms of how they use and adapt to different types of LDWSs. The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether differences in lane keeping performance would be observed when older and younger drivers were presented with auditory warning cues that were either implicitly associated with driving events through common, prior experiences (e.g. rumblestrips), or that were neutral and unfamiliar in the context of driving (e.g. pure tones). We also investigated whether adaptation effects would be observed when learned associations between LDWS cues were initially established and then when these cues were intermittently and unexpectedly deactivated. 14 younger adults (M=27.1 years, SD=4.9) and 11 older adults (M=72.3 years, SD=6.4) participated in this study. All participants were in good general health, active drivers, and screened for visual, auditory, and cognitive impairment. This study was conducted in a fully immersive driving simulator, with a 240° field-of-view horizontal x 90° vertical curved projection screen, realistic audio soundscape, and 6 degree-of-freedom motion platform. Participants were randomly assigned one of two different LDWS sound cues, a pure tone or a pre-recorded rumblestrip. They completed four ten-minute drives along rural roads during which they were required to adhere to posted speed limits (30 km/h - 80 km/h) and stay within their lane. Drive 1 was an Acclimatization drive on a fairly straight highway for participants to gain familiarly with the simulator, with no LDWS, before proceeding to the three experimental drives on a curvy road. Drive 2 was a Baseline drive with no LDWS. Drive 3 was an LDWS Active drive. Drive 4 was an LDWS Intermittent drive, where the LDWS was deactivated intermittently unbeknownst to the participants. Results demonstrated that both types of audio cues were initially helpful in reducing lane deviations when reliably and consistently provided (Drive 3), with the tone cue showing slightly greater effectiveness, particularly in older adults. However, adaptation effects were observed for both age groups such that there were significantly more frequent and longer lane deviations overall when the system was momentarily deactivated (Drive 4). Upon initial exposure to an LDWS, drivers’ lane keeping performance was improved irrespective of auditory cue type or age group. However, when the LDWS was unexpectedly removed, lane keeping was degraded, suggesting that adaptation effects occurred after only a brief exposure to the LDWS. Overall, this suggests that vehicles equipped with unreliable LDWS may increase the risk of driver error under some conditions compared to vehicles with no LDWS at all.

Bruce Haycock