Information design solutions for automotive displays focus on HUD

Abstract: Automotive systems are being developed to increase positive driver experiences and traffic safety. As these new technologies are being adapted into the automotive environment, i.e. safety systems and multimedia applications, are the drivers additionally taking with them nomad devices, i.e. mobile phones, media players, GPS devices, etc., into this environment making it more and more complex. This complexity does not help the driver and in some cases distracts the driver too. The number of information sources has escalated to new heights and this trend does not seem to be slowing down. To be able to keep up with the advances in information technology, which also includes advances in display technology, automobile manufacturers are seeking for new and/or different ways to attract potential customers without bending the traffic safety. In this thesis this phenomena is looked upon by studying how drivers could use the information presented to them in the automobile. What do drivers perceive as important information, how should it be presented, and where? To obtain this several studies were conducted to gain a more complete picture of a driver's perception, behavior, and preferences. First, a questionnaire was administered to three different culture groups; China (167), Sweden (142), and United States of America (89) to learn how they perceive the information's importance and placement. The results showed that the drivers preferred the locations used in their own automobiles, but could think of using the HUD for more advanced driving helps. Based upon those responses a second study was conducted in a fixed-based high fidelity driving simulator. Forty participants drove a baseline and a experiment block (ca 20 min each) in which they where given either 10 warnings or 10 messages from four locations found in automobiles; the Head-Up Display (HUD), Head Down Display (HDD), Infotainment Display (IF), and Center-Stack Display (CS). The measurements were time to respond, time to notice, glance time, fixation time, number offixations, and their driving performance via lane deviation and average speed during in each particular situation. All the drivers preferred information being presented in the HUD and the data showed that their performance was just as good as in the IF location and significantly better than in the CS and HDD locations. Redundant information in the HUD and HDD were not preferred and the participants the HUD exclusively. These results gave support to test HUD in traffic and in the drivers own vehicles. Therefore 30 drivers were recruited to test a HUD during three around the clock days, which showed the automobiles actual speed in their own automobiles on the windscreen. The on-road test showed that HUD was significantly preferred over the HDD for speed information. The majority of the drivers also wanted important warnings to be made available there along with directional helps for navigation. In conclusion the HUD was seen as the "next step" in automobile development. To reduce time away from road, increase traffic awareness, and to "lift" necessary information from more difficult to notice, and attend to, locations to the traffic scene the HUD could be the solution to enhance traffic safety, while speedometer and warning areas could be "freed up" and used for other functions and systems, leaving the locations furthest away for non-critical information.

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