During my studies in Munich I gained experience in ergonomics, the science of understanding the human element in a system to increase safety and performance. I worked on a couple of projects related to multi-tasking while driving.
One of the methods used to examine multi-tasking in automotive is the Lane Changing Test (LCT), which is designed to test accuracy in maintaining the lane, reaction time in lane switching and distraction from traffic signs while performing a secondary task (you can read this report for more information or to download the test). In the relevant literature, a model of multiple resources was proposed by Wickens (2002), which suggests that tasks which share similar modalities or are similar in nature interfere more with each other compared to tasks that require different modalities or processing channels. For example, executing two tasks that require visual processing and spacial navigation (driving and playing snake) affects performance on both tasks more than if one tasks requires visual and the other auditory processing.
This method can be applied to test different dashboard designs or interaction interfaces with car systems, to estimate how changing them can influence driving performance.
Of course, mixing the LCT with eye tracking methodology can give us valuable information about the attention of drivers while performing other tasks. It can also help us identify which tasks (or interface designs) reduce attention to the road and which tasks don’t.
If you are interested in this field and would like to start a project please feel free to contact me discuss a potential collaboration. Also, if you would like to add eye tracking into your projects, we could collaborate on all aspects of the project from experimental design to integration and data analysis.