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Situation awareness and driving performance in a simulated navigation task

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The objective of this study was to identify task and vehicle factors that may affect driver situation awareness (SA) and its relationship to performance, particularly in strategic (navigation) tasks. An experiment was conducted to assess the effects of in-vehicle navigation aids and reliability on driver SA and performance in a simulated navigation task. A total of 20 participants drove a virtual car and navigated a large virtual suburb. They were required to follow traffic signs and navigation directions from either a human aid via a mobile phone or an automated aid presented on a laptop. The navigation aids operated under three different levels of information reliability (100%, 80% and 60%). A control condition was used in which each aid presented a telemarketing survey and participants navigated using a map. Results revealed perfect navigation information generally improved driver SA and performance compared to unreliable navigation information and the control condition (task-irrelevant information). In-vehicle automation appears to mediate the relationship of driver SA to performance in terms of operational and strategic (navigation) behaviours. The findings of this work support consideration of driver SA in the design of future vehicle automation for navigation tasks.
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Keywords: Automation reliability; Driving performance; In-vehicle automation; Navigation aiding; Situation awareness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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