Morris: The Cold Driver: Driving Performance Under Thermal Stress

Title of Thesis: The Cold Driver: Driving Performance Under Thermal Stress

Type: Thesis Proposal

Thesis Advisor: Dr. June J. Pilcher

Thesis Committee Members: Dr. June Pilcher, Dr. Fred Switzer, Dr. Chris Pagano

Time and Location: Tuesday, April 29th at 1:30pm, Brackett 419

Exposure to cold environments can impact complex task performance and increase cognitive and physiological error in response to thermal stress. Critically, the task of driving a vehicle requires the use of calibrated mental and physical actions to be conducted safely without error. Few studies have examined the effects of cold stress on driving performance and none have explored the potential for advanced driver safety systems to detect error. Active vehicle safety systems which monitor dangerous driving behavior due to drowsiness have been research and developed, though technology associated with thermal stressed driving error is unexplored. The current study aims to examine the effects of cold stress by way of skin cooling on driving simulator performance, and evaluate vehicle behavior metrics for possible dangerous driving detection systems. Driving under cold stress is expected to result in systematic vehicle behavior and driving performance error which can be utilized for future safety system development.

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