What's skill got to do with it? Vehicle automation and driver mental workload
Previous research has found that vehicle automation systems can reduce driver mental workload, with implications for attentional resources that can be detrimental to performance. The present paper considers how the development of automaticity within the driving task may influence performance in underload situations. Driver skill and vehicle automation were manipulated in a driving simulator, with four levels of each variable. Mental workload was assessed using a secondary task measure and eye movements were recorded to infer attentional capacity. The effects of automation on driver mental workload were quite robust across skill levels, but the most intriguing findings were from the eye movement data. It was found that, with little exception, attentional capacity and mental workload were directly related at all levels of driver skill, consistent with earlier studies. The results are discussed with reference to applied theories of cognition and the design of automation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 2007