Audi investigates the use of time in the robot car

July 19, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Labor and Organization (IAO), Audi is trying to find out how the drivers mutated to the passenger in a self-driving car use their time. The Fraunhofer experts for man-machine interaction have examined in a special driving simulator, among other things, how the interior can be turned into a perfect workplace. The findings help the car manufacturer to offer every user his personally optimized interior in the car.

"When cars no longer have steering wheels, individual mobility can be redefined. In the future, people will be able to surf the internet, play with their children, or even concentrate on working while on the move from A to B, "says Melanie Goldmann, Head of Cultural and Trend Communication at Audi. "Together with the Fraunhofer experts, we want to find out what is important in order to make the most of their time in the self-driving car."

For the laboratory experiment at the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, Audi used a purpose-built driving simulator that simulates automated driving - with variable interior and without a steering wheel. Large-scale projections give the impression of a night-time city tour. On displays, the scientists can introduce digital interfering stimuli, the windows can be dimmed and light color as well as the background noise can change.

The focus of the laboratory experiment was on young test persons, who were considered open-minded with respect to self-driving cars. In the experiment, the 30 probands completed different concentration tasks, comparable to a working situation in the self-propelled car. Their brain waves (EEG) were measured as well as reaction times, error rates and subjective impressions.

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