Tangent Point Orientation and Anticipated Trajectory Curvature - A Field Study on the Visual Control of High Speed Steering

Otto Lappi, Esko Lehtonen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


An important visual strategy in the visual control of driving
during curve negotiation is tangent point orientation – directing
gaze to the inside road edge in the area of interest (AOI) around
the tangent point. Yet, while the phenomenon has been
replicated in many studies at a qualitative level, and several
computational models have been proposed to explain it, there is
no consensus on whether the actual gaze target is the tangent
point itself – or some other road point in its vicinity- and what
the functional significance TP targeting (looking at the tangent
point) or TP orientation (looking at a point in the TP AOI, but
not necessarily the tangent point) might be. We report here a
previously unobserved dependence between gaze distribution on
road curvature: gaze concentrates on the part of the road where
the vehicle yaw rate (local curvature) will be highest. We
therefore suggest this geometric property of the future path may
act as a functionally salient visual reference for the driver, and
that the oft-reported “tangent point orientation” may in some
cases be a side-effect caused by the spatial contiguity of the
tangent point and the point of maximal path curvature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society : Building Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World
EditorsNaomi Miyake, David Peebles, Richard P. Cooper
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationAustin TX
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Publication date2012
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9768318-8-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventAnnual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Sapporo, Japan
Duration: 1 Aug 20124 Aug 2012
Conference number: 34

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology

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