Advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS) present several kinds of information, warnings, and alerts to drivers depending on the situation. While prior research has investigated various modalities and displays to support drivers, accidents still occur. In this thesis, we examine how we can increase driving performance by informing drivers via their peripheral vision to not distract their focus from the current driving task.
Specifically, we investigate how in-vehicle ambient light displays (ALDs) can be used to achieve this. Since ambient light is mainly perceived peripherally, it places less of a cognitive burden on the driver. Moreover, previous research has shown that ambient displays can cover a wide range of visual cues that can inform drivers unobtrusively, but also grab their attention if needed.
We explored designs for in-vehicle ambient light patterns for various use cases and derived design recommendations. Namely, we developed light patterns for assisting drivers in navigation, reverse parking, avoiding forward collisions, and changing lanes. We focused deeper on the lane change assistance to investigate the effect of ambient light on driving performance and gaze behavior. We also present future research directions, such as prototypes for easier visualization of ambient light patterns and use cases for a future in which the driver state can be assessed automatically, or automated driving makes driver assistance systems futile.
In short, our results show that ambient light displays can be designed to assist drivers in various use cases. Their main advantage is that they can present information unobtrusively but effectively. On the other hand, they can be distracting if not designed well and often did not decrease response times of drivers very much. More research has to be done to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of ambient light compared to other display modalities.
The main contribution of this work lies in a novel way to display driving-related information in a non-distracting way. Even though the results are mainly based on driving simulator studies, they provide a good starting point for developing driver assistant systems that improve driving behavior without increasing the visual distraction. In addition, this research can serve as a basis for future work in automotive ambient light displays as we open up future research directions and give design recommendations.