Audi's Attitudes, a corporate social responsibility program, wanted to learn more about the phenomenon of driving without awareness. Wearable eye trackers from Tobii Pro enabled their researchers to gain insight into driving behavior and occurrences that are often forgotten by drivers. The data revealed significant changes in gaze patterns during phases of subconscious driving and helped identify situations and external factors causing the issue.
Driving without awareness (DWA) is the sense of operating a vehicle with little or no conscious attention to the surrounding traffic, also known as subconscious driving. At the time of this study, there was very little research on this topic. The past exploration focused on long highway journeys and used simulators that deviate from the actual driving experience with methods that involved asking drivers directly about their experiences.
The objective of the study was to learn more about the prevalence of DWA, pinpoint characteristics of drivers who often drive in this manner, and identify situations that could promote its occurrence. The study also aimed to examine driver perceptions about the issue and analyze its effects on road safety.
With eye tracking, we were able to study actual driving behavior in real-time and in detail, and identify subconscious driving situations