Mental task load

Research questions

  1. To what extent does the driver regulate his task load?
  2. How does the driver regulate his task load?
  3. What properties should in-vehicle systems have so that the task load is neither too high, nor too low?


At higher levels of automation the task load and situation awareness change. Both are directly related with the safety of the driving behaviour: a task load that is too high or too low leads to lower performance and a higher crash risk. This study, part of a PhD study, will examine if and how the task load is regulated by the driver and if and how this could be regulated when new systems are introduced so that the task load does not get too high, nor too low.

The study uses Naturalistic Driving data – observations of daily rides of various drivers. With this data it is examined if and how drivers regulate their task load, for example by initiating or interrupting side tasks.

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Project nr.



Start date: 01 Jan 2017
End date: 31 Dec 2017