Investigating Driver Brain Activity, Behavior, and Performance
Visuomotor ability is quite crucial for everyday functioning, particularly in driving and sports. While there is accumulating evidence regarding neural correlates of visuomotor transformation, less is known about the brain regions that accommodate visuomotor mapping under different cognitive demands. We concurrently measured cortical activity and pupillary response, using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and eye-tracking glasses, to examine the neural systems linked to pupil dilation under varying cognitive demands.
Improvements in vehicle safety require understanding of the neural systems that support the complex, dynamic task of real‐world driving. We used functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and pupilometry to quantify cortical and physiological responses during a realistic, simulated driving task in which vehicle dynamics were manipulated. Our results elucidate compensatory changes in driver behavior in response to changes in vehicle handling. We also describe associated neural and physiological responses under different levels of mental workload.
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to eliminate the vast number of motor-vehicle accidents that occur each year. However, as the burgeoning technology becomes more publicly available, self-driving cars will continue to encounter emergency situations. To maximize the vehicle's ability to navigate these situations safely, autonomous driving technology needs to be able to use all of the vehicle's performance capability.
Automobile drivers frequently encounter changes in vehicle handling properties that require them to adjust their steering control actions. These changes may be benign, such as slightly different steering ratios in different cars, or potentially life-threatening, such as suddenly encountering a patch of black ice on the roadway. Understanding how drivers adapt to such handling changes is important for informing the design of new driver assistance systems and training methods.
Vehicles in the foreseeable future will be required to transition between autonomous driving (without human involvement) and full human control. During this transition period, the human, who has not been actively engaged in the driving process, must resume the motor control necessary to steer the car.