From home to the office, to a family visit or to a holiday destination – while the car was once mainly used for transportation between different areas of life, it will soon become another living space in automated driving scenarios. However, can the driver use the free time for other activities while driving, such as reading, eating, sleeping or playing? Or, could gaming even be used as a means to increase driving safety in the future?
According to Continental, games can increase the driver´s activation and attention level during automated driving phases.
Today, gaming is prohibited while driving, for obvious reasons, as the driver consistently has to deal with the task of driving, without being distracted. However, as soon as automated cars can cover longer distances, gaming scenarios in the vehicle may become more relevant. Even then, the driver bears responsibility for safety.
From Continental’s perspective, two factors mainly influence the success of automated driving: one, automated vehicles should be developed transparently so drivers are able to develop trust in technology and awareness for the situation, and two, self-driving vehicles have to provide real added value to enhance the user experience and generate a broad acceptance.
The design of secondary tasks is of great importance in this context. For safety reasons, the return of concentration and the awareness of mode and situation are of crucial importance for automated driving. That is why game scenarios in the car are not conceivable before the conditional automation level is reached and need to be controlled with operating and output elements of the vehicle.
In the third of five levels of automation, the driver will no longer control the system permanently, but must still potentially be in a position to take over the steering wheel within a reasonable time frame. At this level, the game in the vehicle can particularly increase the driver´s level of activation and attention compared to the simple monitoring of the automated driving system.
As a result, the probability of a successful handover of the driving task increases – just as safety does. There is also a positive effect on the user experience, as the game entertains the driver during the monitoring.
To actively integrate the driver in the workflow and to keep him on a cognitive level, the automotive industry needs to develop new approaches to design the takeover process of the driving task. There are various possibilities for the integration of the game into the vehicle.
It could be used as an integral part of the holistic human-machine interface and serve as a “tutor” who accompanies the drivers and tells them about system states. In this case, it actively advises the driver and can be used as an additional sensor to collect data on the driver’s condition. Or, it could be connected with the interior camera that detects driver distraction at any time and activates the driver with in-game notifications. The game could also be integrated into the vehicle as an encapsulated unit – for example by mirroring it from mobile devices to the dashboard displays.
The possibilities for this are manifold – augmented reality, holograms, head-up displays, better sound systems and graphics performance, or the integration of separate computers that are independent from the vehicle´s electronics. These are just a few examples of technologies that can be used in the vehicle of the future.
The focus of development will be on active and passive safety, as well as on issues such as seamless infotainment, driver identification or user experience.
What possibilities for integration of games in the vehicle are there already? Continental is currently researching this together with Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.