Driving Assessment 2013 – Day 4

Alternative Title: Taming the Butterflies

It was a lively start to the second day of the conference, with a thought-provoking, excited, and at times controversial talk from Prof. Cliff Nass (Stanford University). He challenged the audience to think of cars not as large, potentially destructive machines, but instead as a collection of screens (e.g. windscreen, mirrors, dashboard, mobiles, navigation devices). He suggested that driver psychology should be focused on how users interact (passively) with screens (rather than actively control their safety), and he even re-dubbed the conference “Screen User Assessment 2013”.

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One comical moment involved Cliff loading a video to show how easily we all miss objects that appear in our view when we are not expecting them. The audience was busy counting passes of a basketball between people on the screen when a gorilla appeared. We were not supposed to notice this…..however, the fact that this momentary image coincided with a few seconds of “Buffering” did make the task a little easier!

Next up was the presentation from ITS, Leeds – “The design of haptic gas pedal feedback to support eco-driving”. Since we submitted the paper for the conference, we’ve completed two further studies in the ecoDriver project. As a consequence, we were still deciding on the morning of the presentation just what should be included. I think this gave me a few extra butterflies before presenting. As is usually the case, I attempted a humorous introduction, to calm my nerves. I took a photo of the audience as I stood on the podium and explained how I would take another photo at the end of the presentation, for a “Before and After Smiley Face Analysis”.

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On the whole, my talk went well, aside from my interchangeable use of the terms “gas pedal” and “accelerator pedal”, despite my mental note to adjust my phrasing to communicate to the largely American audience! Unfortunately, a slight over-run of the keynote speaker meant that questions were held until lunchtime. However, I received positive feedback on the presentation, challenging questions (Hamish fielded a couple of difficult ones as well) and an opportunity to discover more about a related project being conducted in France.

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Here are the slides from my presentation, if you’d like to see more. (I’m happy to answer any questions via email if you’d like more information…..)

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The remainder of the conference after a presentation is always more relaxing. You can enjoy the talks and posters, safe in the knowledge that your moment on the stage has passed. Day 2 finished with presentations on Fitness to Drive and Driver Performance and Simulation, and then the second poster session.

An early finish meant that we had an hour to spare before the conference dinner. To the pool………

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Wednesday finished with the conference dinner, on board a boat cruising north on Lake George:

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……with the incredible scenery of the Adirondack Mountains……..

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….and a great selections of desserts and a wonderful view at sunset……

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…..before a safe return to the hotel three hours later.

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