A Simulator-Based Investigation of Visual, Auditory, and Mixed-Modality Display of Vehicle Dynamic State Information to Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators

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Virginia Tech

This simulator-based study examined the use of conventional auditory warnings (tonal, non-verbal sounds) and auditory icons> (representational non-verbal sounds), alone and in combination with a dash-mounted visual display, to present information about impending collision situations to commercial motor vehicle operators. Brake response times were measured for impending front-to-rear collision scenarios under six display configurations, two vehicle speeds, and two levels of headway. Accident occurrence was measured for impending side collision scenarios under two vehicle speeds, two levels of visual workload, two auditory displays, absence/presence of mirrors, and absence/presence of dash-mounted iconic display. Subjective preference data was also obtained from participants.

For both front-to-rear and side collision scenarios, auditory icons elicited significantly improved driver performance over conventional auditory warnings. Driver performance improved when collision warning information was presented through multiple modalities. Brake response times were significantly faster for impending front-to-rear collision scenarios using the longer headway criterion. The presence of mirrors significantly reduced the number of accidents for impending side collision scenarios. Subjective preference data indicated that participants preferred multi-modal displays over single-modality displays.

A technique for systematically identifying, selecting, and evaluating candidate auditory icons was also developed. The potential exists to expand upon these developments, toward the goals of identifying appropriate auditory icons, improving operator performance, and developing information display techniques to effectively managing workload across multiple modalities.

Auditory Icons, Warnings, Operator Workload