While in-vehicle eco-driving support systems have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save fuel, they may also distract drivers, especially if the system makes use of a visual interface. The objective of this study is to investigate the visual behaviour of drivers interacting with such a system, implemented on a five-inch screen mounted above the middle console. Ten drivers participated in a real-world, on-road driving study where they drove a route nine times (2 pre-baseline drives, 5 treatment drives, 2 post-baseline drives). The route was 96 km long and consisted of rural roads, urban roads and a dual-lane motorway.
The results show that drivers look at the system for 5–8% of the time, depending on road type, with a glance duration of about 0.6 s, and with 0.05% long glances (>2s) per kilometre. These figures are comparable to what was found for glances to the speedometer in this study. Glance behaviour away from the windscreen is slightly increased in treatment as compared to pre- and post-baseline, mirror glances decreased in treatment and post-baseline compared to pre-baseline, and speedometer glances increased compared to pre-baseline. The eco-driving support system provided continuous information interspersed with additional advice pop-ups (announced by a beep) and feedback pop-ups (no auditory cue). About 20% of sound initiated advice pop-ups were disregarded, and the remaining cases were usually looked at within the first two seconds. About 40% of the feedback pop-ups were disregarded. The amount of glances to the system immediately before the onset of a pop-up was clearly higher for feedback than for advice.