Thursday, April 30, 2009

Simulated Augmented Reality Windshield Display as a Cognitive Mapping Aid for Elder Driver Navigation

This paper is from the CHI 2009 Conference, by SeungJun Kim and Anind K. Dey from Carnegie Mellon University.

The aim of this paper was to study how a heads up display GPS system could be used to help elderly drivers. The authors cited sources describing how elderly drivers are less able to map themselves into their physical surroundings. It is important to be able to mentally know where you are spatially to drive safely. Elderly drivers are also less able to multitask effectively.

The goal of this study was to develop a simulation of a HUD GPS system so that elderly drivers especially would not have to divide their attention between the road and a conventional GPS system.

Drivers were asked to complete a driving simulation, one with a traditional GPS system located on the center console, and one with a GPS integrated into a HUD on the windshield. The study was conducted on 24 adults. 

In general, the participants liked the system, especially the elderly participants. The HUD display improved their response times and their safety.

I think this is a very good idea. The paper explicitly stated that this was only a simulation: they imagine the technology to implement it will be developed by others in the near future. I believe this to be reasonable assumption given that small HUDs are making their way into cars at the moment.

Even though I am not old, I could find this system useful. I have driven around unfamiliar cities with conventional GPS devices. Even though they helped me to get where I was going, I knew that I was not able to concentrate as much as I should have on the road. This system would enable you to follow the GPS directions without ever having to look down. 

I look forward to seeing if this will be implemented any time in the future.