The in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) aim to help the driver by providing information, for example, about routes, traffic congestion and accidents. Because these systems can provide drivers with real-time information there is a growing concern that they may interfere with the primary driving task and thus compromise safety.
Similarly, the possibility of providing drivers with an in-vehicle office environment (with telephone, fax machine, e-mail and computer) raises serious safety concerns - as do some advanced entertainment systems. While these systems should come with 'advice' about not using them while driving (as is currently the case with mobile phones) the driver may be tempted to ignore such advice. In addition to the distraction issue, there are also potential safety problems with respect to the driver being given incorrect information by the IVIS. It is thus essential that drivers be reminded about their responsibilities regardless of information provided by these systems.
This research project intends to identify gaps in the existing standards and guidelines so as to make them compatible with the detailed human machine interface checklist that has been produced to assess such systems. The document could then be recommended, to systems manufacturers and providers, as a product design guideline for In-Vehicle Information Systems.
This project has provided a systematic review of the many factors that need to be considered in the design process of in-vehicle information systems (IVIS).
In particular, it has:
- outlined the different stages of the design process and considered briefly what each stage entails and the possible need for conducting assessments at the different stages;
- reviewed the documentation and user instructions that may need to be provided with the system;
- provided guidelines about how the IVIS should be fitted within the vehicle;
- looked into ergonomic issues of how the driver interacts with the system with respect to controls, visual displays and the use of auditory information;
- discussed issues of the driver-system interface;
- considered some safety related aspects of IVIS, such as the need to provide the driver with accurate and timely information;
- examined the legal situation in the United Kingdom and discussed issues of liability and responsibility.
These guidelines were intended to alert designers (and manufacturers) of IVIS to some legal and ergonomic issues relevant to safety. The guidelines document has also produced a 'user friendly' synthesis of current knowledge and provided up to date guidance on where to locate more detailed information. It was concluded that the principles behind the guidelines will be largely transferable and also intended for designers of in-vehicle entertainment systems (such as radios, cassette and CD players) or mobile phones.
The guidelines, although primarily aimed at systems designed for 'private' car drivers, will also be largely transferable and applicable to systems used by individuals in the course of their work, for example by drivers of fleet cars, HGVs, PSVs and ambulances.