The ConTRe (Continuous Tracking and Reaction) Task: A Flexible Approach for Assessing Driver Cognitive Workload with High Sensitivity

Angela Mahr, Michael Feld, Mohammad Mehdi Moniri, Rafael Math

In: Andrew L. Kun, Linda Ng Boyle, Bryan Reimer, Andreas Riener (editor). Adjunct Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications. International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (AutomotiveUI-12) October 17-19 Portsmouth New Hampshire United States Pages 88-91 ACM Digital Library 2012.


The importance of understanding cognitive load in driving scenarios cannot be stressed enough. With a better management of cognitive resources, many accidents could be avoided, hence it is one of the most critical variables that user experiments attempt to investigate when new in-car systems are introduced. Since there is currently no way to measure it directly, it is often estimated via its impact on primary task performance. Driver assistance systems have traditionally sported rather simple and uni-modal HMIs, but the recent increase in variety of in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) suggests that a more distinguished look at measurement tasks may be needed. Our research indicates that the few established tasks may not be suitable for estimating distraction in all cases, which consequently makes them an unreliable predictor for cognitive load. For the specific conditions we require in our investigation (e.g. continuity, controllable difficulty etc.), we propose the ConTRe (Continuous Tracking and Reaction) Task, which complements the de-facto standard lane change test in order to provide more insight in these cases.


ConTRe_WS.pdf (pdf, 624 KB)

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz