Looking at the Road When Driving Around Bends: Influence of Vehicle Automation and Speed

Damien Schnebelen, Otto Lappi, Callum Mole, Jami Pekkanen, Franck Mars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


When negotiating bends car drivers perform gaze polling: their gaze shifts between guiding fixations (GFs; gaze directed 1–2 s ahead) and look-ahead fixations (LAFs; longer time headway). How might this behavior change in autonomous vehicles where the need for constant active visual guidance is removed? In this driving simulator study, we analyzed this gaze behavior both when the driver was in charge of steering or when steering was delegated to automation, separately for bend approach (straight line) and the entry of the bend (turn), and at various speeds. The analysis of gaze distributions relative to bend sections and driving conditions indicate that visual anticipation (through LAFs) is most prominent before entering the bend. Passive driving increased the proportion of LAFs with a concomitant decrease of GFs, and increased the gaze polling frequency. Gaze polling frequency also increased at higher speeds, in particular during the bend approach when steering was not performed. LAFs encompassed a wide range of eccentricities. To account for this heterogeneity two sub-categories serving distinct information requirements are proposed: mid-eccentricity LAFs could be more useful for anticipatory planning of steering actions, and far-eccentricity LAFs for monitoring potential hazards. The results support the idea that gaze and steering coordination may be strongly impacted in autonomous vehicles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1699
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6162 Cognitive science

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