Driving Research Laboratory
Professor Frank Schieber, Heimstra Human Factors Laboratories, University of South Dakota


Overview  

The Driving Research Laboratory is headed by Professor Frank Schieber. The laboratory is housed within the Department of Psychology's Heimstra Labs complex and contains a well-equipped suite for delivering video and auditory stimuli. Data collection in both the digital and analog response modalities can be accomplished with millisecond-level precision. The lab also hosts a wide field-of-view driving simulator which is capable of supporting a variety of research protocols.  Thanks to the generous support of the 3M Corporation and Toyota USA, respectively, the laboratory also houses a STISIM (version 8) interactive driving simulator and a fully instrumented vehicle for driving research.  Check-out the following links to learn more about these latest additions to the lab's infrastructure.

STISIM Interactive Driving Simulator

Instrumented Driving Research Vehicle

NSF-sponsored Acquisition of ASL ETS-PC Eye Tracker for Driving Research

Research Activities

Recent activities in the laboratory have focused upon the development of techniques for quantitatively assessing the mental workload demands of driving and driving-related activities -- both in the driving simulator as well as in the real world environment. For example, we are currently conducting a series of studies employing subsidiary-task techniques to demonstrate the nature and magnitude of age-related reductions in attentional capacity available during simulated and actual driving (Ben Schlorholtz MA thesis). Relatedly, we have recently developed a protocol to assess age-differences in the extend of the Useful Field of View (UFOV) during actual on-the-road driving (Jess Gilland's MA thesis).  Currently, we are investigating the reliability and validity of eye-gaze fixation patterns as a tool for characterizing the visual information processing demands of drivers.  More specifically we are exploring the application of frequency-domain techniques as a basis for establishing a quantitative metric for the analysis of driver eye movement data.

We have also recently validated the use of a fiberoptic laser gyroscope in our instrumented research vehicle as a device capable of quantifying the intrusiveness of secondary tasks upon driving (steering) performance.  We also recently conducted a driving simulator study to ascertain whether RMS lateral lane deviation versus time-to-line-crossing data can be used to differentiate short-range (ambient) versus long-range (focal) visual processes used in steering (Jason Myers MA thesis).  Finally, we have been developing a visual "occlusion" paradigm (using a portable electrochromic shutter device) for on-the-road assessment of highway sign conspicuity.

Other driving related research is also being conducted by Prof. Schieber and his students under the auspices of the Visual Performance Laboratory. This work has focused upon highway sign conspicuity and legibility issues -- with a strong emphasis on the older driver.  Most recently, we have been conducting basic research regarding the "appearance" of fluorescent colored materials within a traffic safety context.

USD Driving-Related Research Reports:

Recent reports describing work conducted within the Driving Research Laboratory include:

Schieber, F. (2004). Highway design research to improve the safety and mobility of older road users. In Transportation Research Board’s Transportation in an aging society. II. A decade of experience. Washington, DC: TRB (pp. 125-154).

Schieber, F. (2000). Daytime running lights as sources of disability and discomfort glare. Paper to be delivered at the National Academies of Science Biennial Symposium on Visibility, Washington, DC - May 15.

Schieber, F. (2000). Daytime visibility benefits of fluorescent highway sign materials: Data and a proposed theoretical mechanism.  Paper to be delivered at the National Academies of Science Biennial Symposium on Visibility, Washington, DC - May 16.

Schieber, F., Holtz, A. & Myers, J. (2000)Age differences in the visual information processing demands of vehicle instrument panel interfaces.  Paper presented at the XIVth Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, San Diego, CA. August 4.

Schieber, F., Werner, K.J. & Larsen, J.M. (2000).   Real-time assessment of secondary task intrusiveness upon real world driver steering performance using a fiberoptic laser gyroscope.  Paper presented at the XIVth Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, San Diego, CA. August 2.

Schieber, F. (2000). What do driving accident patterns reveal about age-related changes in visual information processing? In K.W. Schaie & M. Pietrucha (Eds.), Mobility and transportation in the elderly. New York: Springer.pp. 207-211.

Schieber, F.  (1999)Beyond TRB 218: Older driver research since 1988.  Draft USD Technical Report [commissioned by Transportation Research Board Committee A3T66].

Schieber, F. (1998). Optimizing the legibility of symbol highway signs. In A. Gale (Ed.), Vision in vehicles. VI. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers. pp. 163-170.

Schieber, F. & Harms, M.L. (1998). Subsidiary-task assessment of age differences in attentional capacity during real and simulated driving. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, pp. 1262-1265.

Schieber, F. & Benedetto, J. (1998). Age differences in the functional field-of-view while driving: A preliminary simulator-based study.  Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, pp. 176-180.

Schieber, F., Harms, M.L., Berkhout, J. and Spangler, D. (1997). Precision and accuracy of video-based measurements of driver's gaze location. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 41st Annual Meeting. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. pp. 929-933.

Baldwin, C.L. & Schieber, F. (1995). Dual-task assessment of age differences in mental workload with implications for driving. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 39th Annual Meeting. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. pp. 167-171.

Schieber, F. (1995). Effects of visual aging upon driving performance. In W. Adrian (Ed.), Lighting for aging vision and health. New York: Lighting Research Institute. pp. 113-128.

Other related technical reports are available on-line.
(See On-line Technical Reports)


Treml Graduate Research Fellowships

The "Benjamin and Helen B. Treml Endowment" has recently been established at the University of South Dakota with the express purpose of funding fellowships for the study of "traffic" behavior and/or engineering. These fellowships provide a generous stipend and a (graduate student) tuition scholarship. To date, these fellowships have been used to support the research efforts of the following graduate students working within the Driving Research Laboratory:

See Treml Fellowships for a list of awardees.


Some Curious Highway Signs

A Humorous View of Parking Behavior


One PC drives 24 displays from Dean Takahashi on Vimeo.