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Prof. Dr. Jun Ma, Prof., School of Automotive Studies, Tongji University


Evaluation of Co-pilot Display Engagement: Driver Distraction Potential and Experience Jun Ma, Jiateng Li* School of Automotive Studies, Tongji University, Cao-an Road No.4800, 201804, Shanghai, China KEYWORDS – Co-pilot display, Driver distraction, Experience, Driving simulator ABSTRACT Background, research gap, and objective: Multi-screen and large screen are two main trends of intelligent cockpit design centered on user experience. An increasing number of production cars are equipped with multiple screens, especially the co-pilot display to enhance the front passenger experience. However, research to date has not yet evaluated the distraction potential and driver experience of co-pilot display engagement. This study seeks to develop a framework for quantifying the visual distraction potential, cognitive distraction potential, and driver subjective experience of the engagement. Methodology: This study proposes a novel method for the assessment of co-pilot display engagement by measuring the driver's eye movements, reaction to the detection response task (DRT) and subjective experience. Specifically, glance and fixation metrics were employed to estimate visual demand. DRT reaction time was introduced to measure cognitive demand. For the purpose of measuring driver experience, a subjective rating of disturbance was adopted. An experimental user study (n=20) was conducted in a driving simulator connected to production vehicles for evaluating the co-pilot display engagement in the video-watching condition. Additionally, Bluetooth headsets and screen privacy filters were introduced to explore possible solutions that could mitigate distraction potential and improve the driver experience. Results: In the video condition, the co-pilot display engagement imposed significantly higher visual and cognitive demands than in the baseline condition (without co-pilot display engagement). Nevertheless, in addition to the average fixation duration, other eye-tracking metrics indicated that co-pilot display engagement was significantly less visually and cognitively demanding than two reference tasks (1-back task and surrogate reference task). Furthermore, the availability of the screen privacy filter was able to reduce visual demand, yet the difference was not statistically significant. The cognitive demand of the engagement was greatly decreased by the Bluetooth headset, even to the point where it was not significantly different from the baseline. Considering the subjective experience of the driver, the introduction of the Bluetooth headset can also effectively alleviate the disturbance caused by the co-pilot display engagement. Conclusion: The results of our experiment point to visual and cognitive distraction potential caused by driver engagement with the co-pilot display. However, this distraction potential is not as severe as that of the reference task. More importantly, this study shows that the screen privacy filter and Bluetooth headset are effective in mitigating distraction potential while reducing the subjective interference from the co-pilot display on the driver to improve the driver experience. Innovation: To the best of the authors' knowledge, it was the first study that looked into the distraction potential, possible solutions, and driver experience of the co-pilot display. The suggested methods will enable us to develop a testing benchmark for measuring the visual and cognitive workload arising from driver engagement with the co-pilot display. Both testers and co-pilot display designers can adopt the techniques and findings of this study. Limitations of this study: The conclusions presented here are restricted to the co-pilot display of the current production vehicles. We only took the video task into consideration for co-pilot display engagement. Future studies need to be carried out in order to assess various forms of entertainment functions, like audio and in-car games.

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With nearly 30 years of research and work experience in the automotive industry, he graduated from the University of Darmstadt in Germany with a major in electronic engineering and automation. with 15 years of German working experience for Continental,  Audi with responsibilities in active safety product R&D, Chinese marketing and strategy. Served as a director of Delphi Global Technical Committee. 

In 2004, he was introduced to the School of Automobile of Tongji University as a flexible talent. He once served as the deputy dean of the School of Automobile and the dean of the School of Automobile Marketing and Management of Tongji University. 

Now he focuses on the relationship between people and cars, outside the car (travel/digital new retail) and inside the car. (Smart Cockpit/Human-Computer Interaction/Knowledge Graph) Full-process user experience innovation and design-driven interdisciplinary innovation. At the same time, he is the head of the innovation design and entrepreneurship discipline of the School of Design and Innovation of Tongji University, and uses "design-driven innovation" and "design+" to help the transformation and upgrading of the industry. 

The current core team of professors comes from the top interdisciplinary innovation disciplines at home and abroad, such as automotive, 5G, artificial intelligence, product design and environmental design. He also serves as the "Plug and Play" entrepreneurship mentor, the co-director of the Rhine-Main Sino-German Innovation Center, the visiting professor of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, and the Xuanyuan Award judge.


Professor of School of Automotive Studies

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