Motorola Labs researchers have expanded their studies and have now opened a new driver
research facility, complete with a Class-2 Driving Simulator, in
Tempe, Arizona. According to the company, with this new facility, Motorola researchers expect
to take their study of the challenges facing drivers to the next
level by researching how drivers interact with their vehicles and
various types of on-board devices, as well as with multiple
sources of incoming information. The research will focus on how
drivers relate to their vehicles and how they receive, manage and
prioritize information while driving.
"By studying drivers in the automotive environment we will be able
to design new products, systems and solutions that will actually
prioritize, manage and deliver information appropriately," said
Tom MacTavish, vice president and director, Human Interface Lab.
"Such solutions will help drivers focus on their primary task,
driving responsibly, while optimizing appropriate secondary
interactions and the driving experience itself."
According to Motorola, the facility allows researchers to study a subject in a simulated
automotive environment, in order to answer key interaction
questions such as:
- What are the best ways to present information so that the driver
maintains a safe driving focus?
- What are the most effective cues to help keep the driver's
attention focused on the driving task (e.g. cues to alert the
driver that he has wandered over the center line)?
- How can intelligent systems assess the quality of the driver's
attention to the driving task?
"Technology has already achieved much to enhance the driving
experience and driver security through navigation aids, automatic
crash notification and access to emergency services, and Motorola
is a leader in developing and supplying smart embedded electronics
for the automotive market," said Jacqueline Dedo, vice president
of global market operations, Motorola Automotive Communications
and Electronic Systems. "This research will allow Motorola, and
our OEM customers, to effectively simulate a variety of driver
inputs in a real world situation. This will ultimately provide a
basis by which each vehicle manufacturer can determine how to
deliver data to the driver, culminating in proactive information
management products and systems."
According to Motorola, the lab uses many user-centered design tools,
including focus groups, statistical inquiries, ethnographic
inquiries, tasks analysis, usability studies and rapid
prototyping. Motorola Labs also works with a variety of
university, customer and national research groups around the globe
to enhance the breadth and depth of this effort.
Motorola claims that the new research facility creates a realistic, hi-fidelity driving
experience that can also be scientifically measured and analyzed.
It includes a full size, four-door sedan chassis; three-channel
front and one-channel rear video, full low and high frequency
audio, with realistic feedback for the steering wheel, pedals and
other normal driving controls. For the forward view, a video of
the road and peripheral views is displayed on three surfaces
enabling a 150o view, at a distance from the car that also
provides a "natural" view from the driving position. As the driver
navigates this virtual world, every action of the driver and
vehicle is measured and collected for analysis, including: where
the driver is looking, how the drive is navigated and how the
driver utilizes in-vehicle devices.
"The data that Motorola is gathering via the new driving
simulator, coupled with Motorola's strong heritage of developing
in-vehicle communications solutions, will help position us
uniquely in the market. Our goal is to develop intelligent
products that assist our customers in fulfilling their primary
responsibility -- to drive safe and call smart," said Ken Wasko,
general manager of companion products for Motorola's Personal
Motorola, Inc. provides
integrated communications and embedded electronic solutions. Motorola Labs is the research arm of
Motorola Inc., with a global team of scientists and
engineers focused on discovering and developing new materials,
technologies, architectures, algorithms and processes for future
systems and products. Motorola actively
licenses technologies developed in the Labs.