Eye Tracking and Automation in Train Driving

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The University of Nottingham investigated how an in-train automation and control system affects typical visual attention strategies of drivers.

 

Challenge

The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) displays an increased amount of information inside the driver's cab. This raises concerns that train drivers’ visual attention will move from monitoring outside the cab to inside the cab.

Inside the cab, drivers must attend to a screen and to the alerts and alarms that the system generates. This could confront drivers with information overload and the need to divide their attention. As a result, risk might increase, if drivers become less anticipatory and less proactive in their decisions.

Solution

With SMI glasses, researchers were able to record and analyze data for predefined areas of interest inside and outside the cab, such as window, break pressure, buzzer, or speed.

A comparison of ERMTS driving with conventional driving without ERMTS indicated that the use of the ERMTS leads to a shift in typical visual attention strategy from outside to inside the cab.

SMI Eye Tracking

Lightweight and unobtrusive, SMI Eye Tracking Glasses allowed the train drivers to go about their normal routine without being unduly affected by the test which was conducted not in a simulator, but in a moving train.

Benefit

To understand visual attention allocation in the workplace, the role of automation and control systems needs to be studied. The reported work is part of a series of studies on the impact of ERTMS driving on drivers’ visual behaviors.

This line of research forms an important contribution to the driver training, as well as to the design of new technologies and tasks for train drivers.

Background

The introduction of train automation and control systems, such as the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), shifts the source of primary information to train drivers from outside the cab to inside the cab.

An eye tracking study with real train drivers on real timetabled routes was conducted at the University of Nottingham to investigate how an in-train automation and control system affects typical visual attention strategies of drivers.

Benefit

To understand visual attention allocation in the workplace, the role of automation and control systems needs to be studied. The reported work is part of a series of studies on the impact of ERTMS driving on drivers’ visual behaviors.

This line of research forms an important contribution to the driver training, as well as to the design of new technologies and tasks for train drivers.

Customer institution University of Nottingham
Customer website http://www.nottingham.ac.uk
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