Effects of voice technology on test track driving performance: implications for driver distraction

Hum Factors. 2005 Summer;47(2):439-54. doi: 10.1518/0018720054679515.


This work compares the degradation in driving performance associated with secondary tasks performed with voice-based and visual/manual interfaces, including radio tuning, phone dialing, and more complex tasks involving a sequence of interactions with an in-vehicle computer system. Twenty-one participants drove an instrumented vehicle while performing a combination of car-following, peripheral target detection, and secondary tasks on a closed test track. Drivers compensated for increased task demands associated with secondary tasks by increasing their following distance. Performing secondary tasks also resulted in significant decrements to vehicle control, target detection, and car-following performance. The voice-based interface helped reduce the distracting effects of secondary task performance. Modest improvements were observed for measures of vehicle control and target detection but not for car following. The results indicated that performing in-vehicle tasks required diversion of both peripheral (visual and manual) and attentional (cognitive) resources from driving. The voice-based interface reduced the peripheral impairment but did not appreciably reduce the attentional impairment. Actual or potential applications of this research include improvements to the design of invehicle information systems and the development of evaluation protocols to assess their distraction potential.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Systems*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reaction Time
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • User-Computer Interface*