The potential for thermal stressed driving detection technology


Drew M. Morris


June J. Pilcher


Human Factors Psychology (College of Business and Behavioral Science)


Exposure to uncomfortably cold environments can induce cold stress in short periods of time. Cold stress has been shown to result in systematic cognitive and physiological error from distracting effects and curtailed dexterity. Due to the dangerous nature of impaired driving, factors that may affect the ability to drive safely should be explored, though few have researched detection technology associated with vehicle control under cold stress. The current study (N=20) found that sleep deprived drivers produced systematic error based on sleep deprivation intensity due to cognitive and physiological detriments (p<.001). A thesis study will use these methods to explore the effects of cold stress by way of skin cooling on driving simulator performance, and evaluate the potential for a thermal stressed advanced driver assistance system. Participants (N=30) will complete three conditions with a high fidelity driving simulator under increasing cold stress. The study will control for reaction time, attention, dexterity, and body temperature. Driving error due to cold stress is expected to vary with intensity similarly to drowsiness, supporting the viability and relevance of such technology.

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