Automotive

Study shows that the more you like your car's personality, the more likely you are to wreck it

Study shows that the more you ...
Drivers who strongly identify with their car's voice are more likely to get into an accident than were those who did not
Drivers who strongly identify with their car's voice are more likely to get into an accident than were those who did not
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Drivers who strongly identify with their car's voice are more likely to get into an accident than were those who did not
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Drivers who strongly identify with their car's voice are more likely to get into an accident than were those who did not

Having Homer Simpson read driving instructions to you may end in a big "doh" according to a new study. An international team of researchers has found that the more a person identifies with the voice guidance in their vehicle, the more likely they are to get into an accident.

The test devised by researchers from Michigan State University, Eindhoven University of Technology, and Stanford University began with participants choosing from a catalog of car options, which they rated according to how the vehicle best fit their personalities. They then rated five pre-selected voices based on their perception of the voice's friendliness, human likeness, similarity to them, and intelligence.

A driving instruction simulator was created using an Oculus Rift, a steering wheel, and pedals. The car chosen had a "virtual driving instructor" (voice only) that acted as a "social presence" within the vehicle, giving instructions and directions as the participants drove. The participants were told that their choice of instructor was for research purposes and that the instructor they were ultimately assigned was randomly chosen by the computer, not based on the questionnaire. In reality, the voice given to them was either their highest-rated or lowest-rated.

Drivers who had a voice they strongly connected with in the questionnaire were far more likely to get into an accident during the simulation than were those who did not identify with the voice. The likelihood of a crash further raised if the voice or "personality" of the car was perceived as being similar to their own.

These results suggest that a strong social or personal connection with a car and its virtual voice may hinder safety, and that this factor should be considered when designing autonomous and semi-autonomous guidance systems.

The findings of the paper entitled "KITT, Please Stop Distracting Me: Examining the Effects of Communication in Cars and Social Presence on Safe Driving" will be presented at the upcoming International Communication Association (ICA) conference in Japan.

Source: ICA via Eureka Alert

2 comments
Mel Tisdale
Perhaps it should be illegal for sat-navs to provide anything other than a computer generated voice like the one Professor Stephen Hawking used until his latest upgrade.
Bob Flint
So does the voice come from a gadget, or the operator's mind.
I have refused, laughed, sworn at GPS systems, and the side, & backseat drivers present, nor will I ever blatantly accept an electronic gadget over my own sensors, other than perhaps being able to see further in poor or blind conditions for example thermal night vision to augment my view of the real world were my headlights don't reach.
Let this be a lesson to those lost soul's who lay there life and other lives on the line when operating a vehicle, you are the operator, and directly responsible for your actions or inactions.
This current trend to semi autonomous and driver assisted devices can go horribly wrong, only time & carnage will tell if they ever will successfully become fully autonomous if we are already getting into trouble with simple voice guidance systems.