Driver distraction

Title: Eyes on the Road (report)

Organisation: RAC Foundation & TRL
Date uploaded: 30th September 2015
Date published/launched: September 2015

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This report examined what impact smart glasses would have on a driverís concentration, comparing them to other devices such as satnavs and radios. The study was commissioned by the RAC Foundation and carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

Smart glasses, which have been developed by companies including Google and Sony, are a form of wearable computing technology that places digital information into the sightline of the user.

The research was commissioned before the temporary withdrawal of the Google Glass product, but with similar systems continuing to be developed by multiple manufacturers, the report says it is likely that smart glasses systems will become available, and that users may choose to wear them when driving.

The report says that the visual display method typical of smart glasses neither helps nor hinders drivers when used for navigation, in comparison to satnavs.

Testing 16 driversí ability to navigate with either verbal instructions, a satnav or smart glasses, the report showed that drivers made fewer incorrect turns using smart glasses that when using a satnav, but many more than when receiving verbal instructions.

Despite the smart glasses producing similar performance levels to satnavs, participants expressed a clear subjective dislike of the smart glasses technology in its current form.

There were also technical problems (including the glasses overheating) with only one participant completing the trial without any form of technical difficulty.

The report says more development work is required to create a compelling argument for the use of smart glasses when driving, and concluded that while smart glasses could be used safely by drivers for navigation, they are more distracting, less enjoyable and more difficult to use than other options.

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