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In this paper we evaluate the safety of the driver when using an embedded communication device while driving. As a part of our research, four different tasks were preformed with the device in order to evaluate the efficiency and safety of the drivers under three different conditions: one visual and two different auditory conditions. In the visual condition, various menu items were shown on a small LCD screen attached to the dashboard. In the auditory conditions, the same menu items were presented with spatial sounds distributed on a virtual ring around the user's head. The same custom-made interaction device attached to the steering wheel was used in all three conditions, enabling simple and safe interaction with the device while driving. The auditory interface proved to be as fast as the visual one, while at the same time enabling a significantly safer driving and higher satisfaction of the users. The measured workload also appeared to be lower when using the auditory interfaces.
Date of Conference: 10-15 Feb. 2008