Augmented reality head-up displays that overlay digital information on windshields to alert drivers about probable collisions, smartphone activity, etc. might turn out to be actually dangerous for them. According to scientists from the University Of Toronto, Department Of Psychology, these AR displays can prove to be dangerous for drivers rather than working the other way round. Ian Spence, professor at the University of Toronto, along with his students Sijing Wu and Yuechuan Sun carried out the study and came to this conclusion.
The three of them designed two tests to find out the impact of the use of these augmented displays. Ian Spence said “Drivers need to divide their attention to deal with this added visual information. Not only will drivers have to concentrate on what’s happening on the road around them as they’ve always done, they’ll also have to attend to whatever warning pops up on the windshield in front of them.”
In this study that they conducted, the participants had to first complete a set of computer-based trials in which they had to report some randomly arranged spots which were showed on screen as accurately and quickly as possible, when prompted.
In some experiments, a secondary stimulus with the shape of a black-outlined square was presented to the participants and they were asked to say if they saw that or not. The shape and spots were shown together. However, only in some of the trails, the shape appeared randomly.
It was seen that accuracy was high when the square was not there, which suggests that only little attention was required from the participants. However, when the spots and the square appeared together, the participants missed about one in 15 times on an average. As the spots increased, the rate increased to 1 in 10 minutes. This shows that if attention is occupied by the primary task, the secondary task stimulus will be hard to attend to, by the participants.
When it comes to driving a vehicle, the driver has to give his/her attention to even more tasks. So, it is not enough to see an unexpected thing using the AR HUDs. It is necessary to identify that and respond accordingly.
Spence said “It would be necessary to distinguish, for example, between warnings of a collision and a recommendation to make a turn. Otherwise competing warnings may be more dangerous than no warning at all.” Another study was carried out to test this. The participants were told to spot out the appearance of a random distinct shape- a square, triangle or diamond, among the spots. In instances where there was larger number of spots, the shape was often missed out or misidentified.
Spence said “Observers made both judgments more slowly when the shape appeared among the spots by as much as 200 per cent. The two visual tasks interfered with each other and impaired both reaction speed and accuracy.”
Now it remains to be seen whether this study will be heeded and augmented reality displays won’t be used in cars or big auto manufacturers will still add this feature in their upcoming vehicles.
What about you?
What do you think about these AR displays? Do you think they actually help the drivers or pose a threat for them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Source – bmwblog.com
Article Source – tech.firstpost.com