The effect of performing a verbal cognitive task during conditional automated driving on driver’s state and awareness

Bachelor thesis, University of Fribourg, 2019

  • 4 students to supervise.
  • The students worked few hours a week for 10 months.
  • Supporting the student for designing the experiment, prepare the material for data collection, collecting and analyzing the data.
  • Communication in English with the students.
  • Study done in 3 languages : French, German and Italian.

Context of the project

The goal of this project is to investigate if performing a verbal cognitive task (backwards counting) while driving in conditional automation has an effect on the physiological state and situation awareness of drivers. The data were collected on a fixed-based driving simulator where participants had to drive in conditional automation for 20 minutes. Half of them had to perform the cognitive task. Besides, all participants had to react accordingly to 6 Takeover Requests (TORs), triggered by a deer, a trafic cone, a frog, a can and 2 false alarms.

Tasks done by the students

  • Design of the experiment (procedure and choice of task and measures)
  • Preparation of the material for user testing : questionnaires, instructions, audio recorder
  • User testing : data collection of 90 participants
    • Socio-demographic questions
    • Physiological signals : ECG, EDA and Respiration
    • Cognitive workload after the driving session : NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX)
    • Performance of secondary task
    • Situation Awareness Rating Technique (SART)
    • Realism and dangerousness of each obstacle
  • Data analysis
  • Realization of the bachelor thesis
  • Optional : Creation of a poster summarizing the work done