A Wearable Virtual Touch System for Cars

Gowdham Prabhakar, Priyam Rajkhowa, Pradipta Biswas

In automotive domain, operation of secondary tasks like accessing infotainment system, adjusting air conditioning vents, and side mirrors distract drivers from driving. Though existing modalities like gesture and speech recognition systems facilitate undertaking secondary tasks by reducing duration of eyes off the road, those often require remembering a set of gestures or screen sequences. In this paper, we have proposed two different modalities for drivers to virtually touch the dashboard display using a laser tracker with a mechanical switch and an eye gaze switch. We compared performances of our proposed modalities against conventional touch modality in automotive environment by comparing pointing and selection times of representative secondary task and also analysed effect on driving performance in terms of deviation from lane, average speed, variation in perceived workload and system usability. We did not find significant difference in driving and pointing performance between laser tracking system and existing touchscreen system. Our result also showed that the driving and pointing performance of the virtual touch system with eye gaze switch was significantly better than the same with mechanical switch. We evaluated the efficacy of the proposed virtual touch system with eye gaze switch inside a real car and investigated acceptance of the system by professional drivers using qualitative research. The quantitative and qualitative studies indicated importance of using multimodal system inside car and highlighted several criteria for acceptance of new automotive user interface.

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