Academic journal article Human Factors

Effects of Head-Slaved and Peripheral Displays on Lane-Keeping Performance and Spatial Orientation

Academic journal article Human Factors

Effects of Head-Slaved and Peripheral Displays on Lane-Keeping Performance and Spatial Orientation

Article excerpt

To improve the efficiency of images presented in low-cost vehicle simulators, the virtual viewing direction (i.e., the direction in which the image is rendered) can be head-slaved, the display can be surrounded with a less detailed peripheral image, or both. Three simulator experiments were used to evaluate the effect of these techniques on lane-keeping performance and spatial orientation. In Experiment 1, vehicle references or a head-slaved display (HSD) provided feedback on the virtual viewing direction. Vehicle references improved lane-keeping performance somewhat with a standard 50[degrees] h x 50[degrees] v display. An HSD (50[degrees] h x 50[degrees] v) allowed better steering performance, but not to the levels obtained with a wide display (150[degrees] h x 50[degrees] v). Experiments 2a and 2b evaluated the effects of surrounding the HSD with a less detailed peripheral image and of moving the HSD discretely or continuously. With the peripheral image, lane-keeping performance (Experiment 2a) and spatial orientation (Experiment 2b) were similar to those with a wide display. In both experiments, performance with the discretely moving HSD was superior to that with the continuously moving HSD. The results show that low-cost driving simulators can be equipped with more efficient displays that are as effective as wide displays for lane-keeping and spatial orientation.

INTRODUCTION

In low-cost vehicle simulators and in three-dimensional (3D) video games, the limited capacity of the image generator does not allow a high resolution image to be presented for a wide field of view. However, if traffic signs are to be legible and oncoming traffic is to be perceived accurately, a high-resolution image is required. If sharp curves and intersections are to be negotiated, a wide field of view is needed as well. The present study investigates methods for optimizing the efficiency of a display system.

The human visual system faces a similar efficiency problem in the perception of visual information. It also needs to optimize the sampling of visual information. The visual system increases its efficiency in two ways. First, the viewing direction of the eye can be changed to widen the field of regard (i.e., the part of the environment that can be observed by changing the viewing direction). Second, by varying the resolution of the eye across the field of view (high resolution in the fovea, lower resolution toward the periphery) the visual system can, for a fixed data flow, sample with a higher resolution, for a wider field of view, or both. By capitalizing on the previously mentioned properties of the human visual system, it may be possible to improve display efficiency as well.

In vehicle simulators the virtual viewing direction (i.e., the direction in which the image is rendered) is usually coupled to the simulated vehicle and is generally pointed in the direction of travel. Obviously this narrows the operator's field of regard because a change in the virtual viewing direction can be brought about only by a change in the orientation of the vehicle. Thus correctly negotiating an intersection with the narrow, fixed, vehicle-slaved field of view that is found in low-cost vehicle simulators and 3D video games is almost impossible. Changing the virtual viewing direction with respect to the vehicle - for instance, by slaving it to the observer's head - may be a better option. This allows the virtual environment to be observed in any direction, without changing the orientation of the vehicle. This method and its effects on lane-keeping performance are studied in Experiment 1.

EXPERIMENT 1: CHANGING THE VIRTUAL VIEWING DIRECTION

Introduction

Changing the virtual viewing direction may seem to be an efficient method for increasing the field of regard, but the perceptual consequences can be severe. This technique has frequently been used in research on remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs). …

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