Abstract: In recent years, the development of vehicles with increasing levels of automation has been a major topic of interest in many research fields. One anticipated promise of this technology is improved roadway and public safety. However, several questions remain unanswered regarding how humans will interact with various types of automated vehicles, given that some levels require shared control between the human and vehicle. Driver state monitoring, through the use of physiological sensing, is one approach that can be used to estimate drivers’ mental state, attention allocation, and/or workload, and predict driver-vehicle interactions. In this presentation, Dr. Pitts will discuss a series of studies conducted by the NHanCE lab involving next-generation automated vehicles. In particular, experiments have investigated 1) heart rate monitoring while using driver assistance systems, 2) age-related differences in eye-tracking behavior and manual responses to takeover requests for intermediate vehicle automation, and 3) takeover performance to critical events during conditional driving automation. Findings from this research are expected to guide decisions about the design of semi-autonomous vehicles and associated in-vehicle warning and information systems, and inform intelligent system development in other high-risk, data-rich environments.


Dr. Brandon J. Pitts is an Assistant Professor in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Also, at Purdue, he is Director of the Next-generation Human-systems and Cognitive Engineering (NHanCE) Lab, Faculty Associate with the Center on Aging and the Life Course (CALC), and Co-Director of the FAA Center of Excellence for Technical Training and Human Performance (TTHP). He completed a B.S. in Industrial Engineering at Louisiana State University in 2010, and a M.S.E and Ph.D. in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, MI in 2013 and 2016, respectively. Prior to his faculty appointment, he was a Research Fellow in the UM Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety (CHEPS). Dr. Pitts’ research focuses on cognitive engineering, human-automation interaction, context-sensitive interface design, and gerontechnology in complex transportation and work environments, such as driving and aviation. His research has been funded by several government and industry sponsors, such as National Science Foundation, Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, and Ford Motor Company. Dr. Pitts is also a registered Engineer Intern (E.I.T).