Linking the Detection Response Task and the AttenD Algorithm through the Assessment of Human Machine Interface Workload

Multitasking related demands can adversely affect drivers’ allocation of attention to the roadway, resulting in delays or missed responses to roadway threats and to decrements in driving performance. Robust methods for obtaining evidence and data about demands on and decrements in the allocation of driver attention are needed as input for design, training, and policy. The detection response task (DRT) is a commonly used method (ISO 17488) for measuring the attentional effects of cognitive load. The AttenD algorithm is a method intended to measure driver distraction through real-time glance analysis, in which individual glances are converted into a scalar value using simple rules considering glance duration, frequency, and location. A relationship between the two tools is explored. A previous multitasking driving simulation study, which used the remote form of the DRT to differentiate the demands of a primary visual– manual human–machine interface from alternative primary auditory– vocal multimodal human–machine interfaces, was reanalyzed using AttenD, and the two analyses compared. Results support an association between DRT performance and AttenD algorithm output. Summary statistics produced from AttenD profiles differentiate between the demands of the human–machine interfaces considered with more power than analyses of DRT response time and miss rate. Among discussed implications is the possibility that AttenD taps some of the same attentional effects as the DRT. Future research paths, strategies for analyses of past and future data sets, and possible application for driver state detection are also discussed.

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