Evaluation of methods for the assessment of minimum required attention

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The empirical methods eye tracking while driving, visual occlusion while driving, think aloud while driving, expert judgement in the laboratory and think aloud while watching video are evaluated for their usefulness to assess driver attention in real traffic. Using a within-subjects design, six driving instructors drove three 14-kilometre-laps on a motorway per driving condition. Additional participants took part in sub-sets of the conditions. The methods were evaluated both with respect to practical implications and to the results that could be obtained with them. Glance behaviour and self-paced visual occlusion varied between different manoeuvre types (lane change – two directions, driving in left or right lane) and also between drivers. For the assessment of the attentional requirements of different traffic situations it is recommended to identify “situational prototypes” and related manoeuvres. The attention assessment should then be made with eye tracking in combination with visual occlusion, complemented with the think aloud technique. It is important to consider inter-individual variations in the process of identifying general attentional requirements for a prototypical situation/manoeuvre combination. Information about surrounding traffic needs to be obtained for a correct assessment. Preliminary results indicate that it is important to adopt a manoeuvre-oriented view, for example when identifying visual targets, instead of using a static gaze target classification scheme.

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