An investigation into a driver-to-driver communication device to manage and improve the interaction between drivers

de Souza Lamas, Jose Raphael (2018) An investigation into a driver-to-driver communication device to manage and improve the interaction between drivers. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Drivers must communicate with other road users to make their intentions clear, thereby enhancing the quality of the driving experience, improving safety on the roads and avoiding accidents. This interaction can be made either formally using legal signals approved by legislative bodies (e.g. use of indicators), or informally (e.g. hand gestures). However, this informal interaction may not be clearly understood by all drivers, and may lead to stress, strong emotional responses or aggressive driving behaviour. Moreover, a single informal interaction, e.g. flashing the headlights, can have several different meanings such as “Your headlights are on”, “Thank you”, or “I want to overtake you”, depending on the situation. Driver interaction could be enhanced by an electronic driver-to-driver communication device (DDCD), which would allow motorists to exchange messages with each other. The technology associated with connected vehicles could be used for the design of this communication device. For example, wireless devices and sensors already allow vehicles to exchange information with other vehicles (V2V) and road infrastructure (V2I) at any time.

This PhD research initially introduces a driver-to-driver communication framework depicting a set of variables or factors that have a decisive effect on the communication process. The framework is also comprised of a task analysis for the DDCD. The framework is later expanded to include a specific set of design recommendations linked back to the variables that affect the communication process. These recommendations are specifically related to the DDCD and are based on a review of the literature and results from empirical studies conducted as part of the PhD.

A mixed-methods approach was adopted in this research to elicit opinions and attitudes of drivers, including interviews, observations, a workshop with academic experts and questionnaires. In total, five studies are described in the thesis, with STUDY A being an exploratory investigation on the feasibility of the DDCD. The second and third studies focused specifically on the task of receiving messages, with academic experts (STUDY B) and with regular drivers (STUDY C). A fourth study (STUDY D) involved on-road trials to investigate how drivers would identify a vehicle to send a message to. The final experiment (STUDY E) consisted of an evaluation in a driving simulator of a low-fidelity prototype of the communication device to send messages.

The studies were based on a set of driving communication scenarios, which facilitated the exploration of potential issues with the use of a proposed technology before implementation. The scenarios represented different examples of how, why and when drivers might communicate with one another, and were used as the focal point with study participants.

The findings from this research indicate that drivers would be willing to use an electronic communication device in situations directly related to the road context in which there is a decisive effect on their safety or that may alter their driving behaviour, such as a problem with their vehicle or a hazard on the road. There are many factors investigated in this research that have a significant effect on drivers’ communication process. These factors include, but are not limited to, time criticality, trust issues in message content, the effect of passengers, sender anonymity and the general purpose of communication. These research findings will significantly contribute to the limited academic research currently available on social and connected vehicles and can also provide invaluable information for the automotive industry.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Burnett, Gary
Cobb, Sue
Harvey, Catherine
Keywords: Human Factors, HMI, Driver-to-driver communication, Social car
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 51362
Depositing User: De Souza Lamas, Jose
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2018 04:41
Last Modified: 08 May 2020 08:17

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