Comparison of Driver Distraction Evaluations across Two Simulator Platforms and an Instrumented Vehicle
The purpose of this work was to assess the cross-platform validity of two driving simulators and an instrumented vehicle operated on a closed driving course. Characteristics of vehicle speed and performance to an Alert Response Task were evaluated using a MiniSim, manufactured by the National Advanced Driving Simulator group, a Realtime Technologies, Inc. desktop simulator, and an instrumented 2005 Toyota Highlander. Results indicate a high degree of relative validity between the three research platforms with mean and standard deviation of vehicle speeds showing near identical patterns under various secondary task demands. Performance on an auditory Alert Response Task also showed a high degree of consistency across the three research platforms. Performance on a visual Alert Response Task appeared to be highly reactive with the testing conditions present in the instrumented vehicle evaluations. These data have practical implications for the use of driving simulators in experimentally controlled research and also make suggestions about the use of visual warnings to elicit emergency response behaviors in drivers.