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KU Professor Presents Paper in DC

Friday, November 11, 2011

KU Professor of Design, Gregory Thomas, presented a paper on the “Adaptive Information Display Project” last week in Washington, D.C. The University Transportation Center Program and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, both under the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, supported the conference.

Thomas’ work was the final product of a research grant funded by the KU Transportation Research Institute (KU TRI) and became the first collaborative effort of the Center for Design Research, a facility that aims to foster interdisciplinary research.  Colleagues who worked on the project in addition to Thomas include:  Paul Atchley, Chris Depcik, Ronald Dougherty, Lance Rake, and Michael Eckersley, representing the departments/schools of Design, Mechanical Engineering, and Psychology at the University of Kansas.

For the past year, the DWD (Driving Without Distraction) Team took an analytical approach toward evaluating the impacts of automakers and their attempt to “personalize” the vehicle to make driving more of an entertainment-oriented experience. In doing so, the automakers have layered the complexities and increased the multitasking of the operator. With the comprehensive study of the numerous media impacts on driving, the additional task of designing a “smarter” dashboard console was undertaken by KU faculty and students. The purpose of this collaboration between experts in engineering, design and cognitive science was to develop a new class of Adaptive Information Displays (AID) that can intelligently assess road and driver conditions and adjust the driver’s in-car experience to anticipate their needs and demands for safety.

Thomas also participated in the breakout sessions over the 2-day conference that sought to define new areas of future research. Thomas’ contribution was to include: “Guideline development for ‘in car’ driver–vehicle interfaces for emerging technologies.”

The conference, entitled “Improving Roadway Safety Programs Through University–Agency Partnerships,” was held November 2nd through 3rd at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C.

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