Short-term Cardiovascular Measures for Driver Support: Increasing Sensitivity for Detecting Changes in Mental Workload

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Abstract

With on-going increases in traffic density and the availability of more and more in-vehicle technology, driver overload is a growing concern. To reduce the burden of workload on the driver, it is essential that support systems that become available are able to use estimations of drivers' workload. In this paper a short-term cardiovascular approach to assess drivers' mental workload is described using data collected in a driving simulator study. The effects of short lasting increases in task demand (40 s) on heart rate and blood pressure and derived variability measures are applied as indicators of mental effort. Fifteen drivers participated in 6 sessions of 1.5 h in a driving simulator study. Two traffic density levels (7.5 minute segments) were compared in which short-segments (40 s) of fog were used to induce additional workload demands. Higher traffic density was reflected in increased systolic blood pressure and decreased blood pressure variability. Heart rate variability and blood pressure variability measures decreased during driving in fog in the low traffic condition, indicating increased effort investment during fog in this condition. The results show that the described short-term measures can be applied to give an indication of cardiovascular reactivity as a function workload.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume92
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2014

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Heart rate variability
  • Blood Pressure
  • driving
  • Mental workload
  • Short-term response patterns
  • HEART-RATE
  • DRIVING PERFORMANCE
  • SIMULATED FLIGHT
  • AUTONOMIC SPACE
  • EYE ACTIVITY
  • TASK
  • RESPIRATION
  • STATE
  • PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY
  • AUTOMATION

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