FORWARN - Towards an intelligent Forward Collision Warning System

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Institute for Transport Studies

Abstract

FORWARN aims to create a Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system that is able to consider driver distraction when making decisions on the appropriateness and timing of warnings. To achieve this, drivers will be asked to engage in a variety of distracting tasks in simulated driving scenarios requiring the engagement of a FCW. The FCW will later be 'trained' to ascertain driver distraction using vehicle- and driver-related metrics.

The research proposed here aims to bridge the gap between work on assistance systems and work on the impact of driver distractions, by understanding the relationship between distraction, warnings and driver performance. This research will examine the effect of a variety of in-vehicle distracting tasks on driving performance, and establish how these can then be taken into account when designing an advanced driver assistance system such as FCW. A particular focus of this research will be to gain a better understanding of the distracting effect of non-visual tasks, such as engagement in hands free mobile phone conversations.

FCW uses sensors and radar to scan the area ahead of the vehicle, and aims to avoid rear-end collisions, or reduce their impact, by advising drivers to brake. Some newer systems even intervene in some cases to avoid a collision. There are considerable potential benefits of such systems which have recently been proven in a large-scale Field Operational Test (FOT) in North America. However, there is a danger that systems which have permanently fixed criteria will be viewed by a significant number of drivers as presenting too many "false" (unwanted) warnings. Indeed, drivers in the U.S. Field Operational Test were keen to be able to tune the system to their personal preferences.

Therefore, one main aim of the proposed project is to use eye tracking and vehicle related performance measures to identify the information that is needed by a FCW before it can establish whether or not a driver is distracted. Upon approach to a hazardous condition, this intelligent FCW will then only be triggered after if it has ascertained that the driver is truly distracted and unable to respond to the hazard in good time. As driving is a multi-faceted activity, assessing the effects of distraction on driving performance depend on the exact driver- and vehicle-related metrics being observed as well as the nature of the distracting task itself. This project will build upon the work already conducted by the group in this area during previous European projects such as AIDE (Adaptive Integrated Driver-vehicle interfacE) and HASTE (Human machine interface And the Safety of Traffic in Europe) and a recently completed EPSRC project, EASY (Effects of Automated Systems on safetY).

Planned Impact

UK involvement in the cutting edge of research on new automotive systems is currently rather slim, as evidenced by the generally low level of UK participation in large-scale European research programmes within the automotive and technology areas. This perhaps reflects the general weakness of the UK automotive sector; although it is reassuring that there are still a number of significant UK-based research groups tackling some of these issues. Given the rapid changes in vehicle technology and the rapidly increasing role of electronic systems in new vehicles, it is vital to keep the UK at the forefront of new developments. We expect that this project, if successful in developing the systems envisaged, could have substantial spin-off potential.

This research will contribute to knowledge by bridging the gap between data filtering and mining techniques used in machine learning, to understand the effect of various in-vehicle tasks on driver distraction. The impact of this research is therefore relevant to the automotive industry, which will be able to utilise the results to create a more user friendly Forward Collision Warning system that takes action only in times of true driver distraction. Such sharing of knowledge is made easier through partnership in the project with Jaguar Land Rover Research and TRW Conekt.

The system to be investigated here could have substantial social benefits by reducing the incidence of traffic accidents caused by driver distraction. Driver distraction, as imposed for instance by Satellite Navigation systems and mobile telephone conversations has been linked to such crashes. For example, a U.S. study conducted by Virginia Tech found that distraction was a major safety issue, with almost 80% of the crashes and 65% of near-crashes involving the driver looking away from the forward roadway just prior to the onset of conflict. Inattention, including secondary task distraction, was a contributory factor in 93% of the incidents with lead vehicles. The implications of this research will also provide benefit to national and EU policy makers and road safety professionals, when considering legislation on safe use of in-vehicle systems.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The work has established a clear distinction between distractions that require the movement of the eyes away from the road - visual distractions and those that do not (non-visual distractions).

The focus of the work is around non-visual distractions which take the 'mind off the road'. The research has established how cognitive (non-visual) distraction can be identified, and what mitigation strategies can be put into place to reduce distraction related accidents.

New metrics for identifying this type of distraction have been identified and will be used in follow on work to create a real-time algorithm for identifying non-visual distraction in the vehicle. This work has also attracted attention from students in China and collaborators in the US and industry (Volvo). It is therefore likely to have a high impact.
Exploitation Route Once the algorithm is developed and tested, it is our intention to discuss this finding with colleagues at JLR
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Transport

 
Description This work is important in providing understanding of the effect of non-visual distracting tasks on driver performance. With the increased use of mobile telephones, and handsfree conversations, it is important to understand how this activity might contribute to crashes. The work is therefore important for improving citizens' well-being and increasing road safety.
Sector Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description HAROLD
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S003576/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 06/2022
 
Description TRANSITION
Amount £560,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P017517/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 09/2020
 
Description Collaboration with Johan Engstrom VTTI 
Organisation Virginia Polytechnique Institute and State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The two teams have worked on two new publications based on the data collected from the FORWARN PROJECT.
Collaborator Contribution Engstrom has been lead author to two linked publications. He also promotes this work in international meetings on distraction
Impact Two publications in the publications list. one journal article and one conference proceeding which will also bee published as a journal article.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with Seeing Machines 
Organisation Seeing Machines
Country Australia 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The work has involved use of distracting tasks, developed in the FORWARN project, in a new study to consider how driver monitoring can be used for establishing driver distraction
Collaborator Contribution This collaboration has involved development of new algorithms and analysis of data by the two partners, to understand how driver head and eye movements can be used in the Leeds driving simulator
Impact publication pending. PhD studentship funded.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with Sheffield 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Department School of Architecture
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration on a new research proposal
Collaborator Contribution Leading a new responsive mode research proposal
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with Tsinghua University 
Organisation Tsinghua University China
Department Department of Automotive Engineering
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration of further investigations regarding measurement of cognitive load in driving. new publications have been prepared
Collaborator Contribution new data analysis
Impact Two journal publications currently in preparation
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with Volvo Cars and Volvo Technology 
Organisation Volvo Technology Corportation
Country Sweden 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Participation as expert advisor to Volvo Cars on their project regarding Cognitive Distraction
Collaborator Contribution Discussions on linked interests. Letter of support for new EPSRC project to follow work on FORWARN - PI Wilkie - see separate entry
Impact N/a
Start Year 2013
 
Description Collaboration with Volvo Truck on a new study 
Organisation Volvo Trucks
Country Sweden 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A new study has been conducted with Johan Engstrom at Volvo Trucks, to consider the effect of distraction on reaction to a lead car
Collaborator Contribution We are working together on a model for distraction
Impact A manuscript is currently in preparation for this work. We are also working on a review paper on the area, with Engstrom as lead author
Start Year 2014
 
Description PACE proposal 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department Institute of Psychological Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution New project proposal submitted to EPSRC to continue work which is ongoing as part of FORWARN
Collaborator Contribution REsearch proposal. Not funded but revised and resubmitted as Transition project
Impact Project proposal
Start Year 2012
 
Description TRANSITION proposal 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department Leeds Institute of Cancer & Pathology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Wilkie from School of Psychology, University of Leeds
Collaborator Contribution New proposal to the EPSRC based on work in FORWARN and European Project AdaptIVE
Impact New proposal to the EPSRC based on work in FORWARN and European Project AdaptIVE
Start Year 2012
 
Description European Commission, Scientific Advisor, US-EU Bilateral group on Cognitive Load in driving 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Advisory group member on cognitive load/distraction. Contributing to an EC publication
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Driven to distraction 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited talk organised by the Irish Motor Writers Association and sponsored by Continental Tires considered the likely distracting effect of various in car systems. The event was widely covered by the Irish and international press.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.tyretrade.ie/index.php/are-we-being-driven-to-distraction-by-auto-technology/5670
 
Description ISO standard 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Working Group 8 member. Contribution to work on the "Detection Response Task", a standardised task for measuring distraction from in-vehicle systems. Now to be used as a recognised standard.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:17488:ed-1:v1:en
 
Description Volvo Cars Advisory Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Advising volvo cars on the detrimental effects of distraction, with discussions on the effect of Cognitive distraction in particular
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013