Evaluating Tactile-Acoustic Devices for Enhanced Driver Awareness and Safety: An Exploration of Tactile Perception and Response Time to Emergency Vehicle Sirens
A feasibility study was conducted to determine if real-time emergency vehicle sirens can be detected when presented to a driver using a tactile display device. Public usability methods were employed to evaluate the tactile-perceptibility of siren sounds when a driver’s hearing ability is impaired, due to temporary deafness that is induced when listening to loud music, road noise, or by active noise cancelling systems installed in automobiles. The study evaluates siren detection rates and response times of drivers who are artificially deafened by loud music using tactile-only stimuli as an alert system. Results of the study suggest that the use of an ambient tactile display can provide persistent access to siren sounds for drivers who are deafened in both low and high stress conditions. Details of the experiments are presented, along with a discussion on next steps, which includes recommendations for integrating the tactile displays into driving simulators as an alternative form to haptic displays that can improve driver awareness of and response to emergency vehicle signals.
KeywordsTactile acoustic devices primary and secondary attention cognitive processing hearing loss driving simulation emergency vehicle response automotive safety
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