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7 May 2013

Motoring gadgets help boost driver safety

Image: iStock Photography

Research by Loughborough University has shown that motoring gadgets, such as satellite navigation systems, bring positive changes to drivers’ behaviour, making them feel safer and be more fuel efficient.

The €15 million international TeleFOT – Field Operational Tests of Aftermarket and Nomadic Devices in Vehicles – study was one of the biggest traffic ICT projects in Europe.  Driver support services tested included static and dynamic navigation systems, green driving support, speed limit information and traffic information.

The unique data gathered for the project reveals that these systems allow drivers to find quicker and less congested routes and prevent them from speeding accidentally.  They help reduce fuel costs and driving-related stress and anxiety, with an increase in the drivers’ sense of safety and comfort.  The study also found that, on the whole, the use of such motoring gadgets does not distract drivers.

More than 3,000 motorists took part in the study, covering a combined distance of more than 10 million kilometres in eight European countries – the UK, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

The project’s Field Operational Tests involved comprehensive assessments of driver behaviour and the efficiency, quality, robustness and user-friendliness of interactive in-vehicle traffic systems and services.  The driver support services tested included static and dynamic navigation support, green driving support, speed limit information and traffic information.

Data from the UK tests was gathered by the world-leading Transport Safety Research Centre based in the University’s Design School.  The Loughborough team also managed the data analysis from all countries that took part in the study and were responsible for several research innovations during the course of the project, including pioneering work on eye-tracking, visual behaviour and driver distraction.

Speaking about the study Dr Andrew Morris, who led Loughborough’s involvement in the project said: “This research has provided a unique and comprehensive insight into how motorists interact with a range of commonly-available driver support functions.  Throughout all the countries involved in the study, the results showed a positive change in driver behaviour, in particular making them less likely to speed and to drive more fuel efficiently.”

The TeleFOT study was coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

−ENDS−

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 13/73

(1) About TeleFOT: TeleFOT constitutes the largest pan-European Field Operational Test of functions provided by in-vehicleaftermarket and nomadic devices that has been conducted to date.TeleFOT started in 2008 and ended in November 2012. During its lifetime, the project utilised andfurther developed the methodology of Field Operational Tests (FOT) to assess the impacts of functionsprovided by these devices on several transport domains, including safety, efficiency, environment, mobilityand user uptake.

The project partners were:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
ADAC - Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V.
Blom Sistemas Geospaciales
Broadbit
CRF - Centro Ricerche FIAT
CERTH/HIT - Centre for Research & Technology Hellas/Hellenic Institute of Transport
Chalmers University of Technology
Cidaut
Mediamobile Nordic
Emtele
ETRA - Electronic Trafic
ICCS - Institute of Communication and Computer Systems
IKA - Institut für Kraftfahrzeuge RWTH Aachen University
Logica Suomi
Loughborough University
Magneti Marelli
MetaSystem
MIRA
Navteq
Rücker Lypsa
Trafikverket
UTBM
University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

(2) About Loughborough University: Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the Best Student Experience in England every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 11 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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