Alarm Effectiveness in Driver-centered Collision-Warning Systems


Parasuraman, R., Hancock, P.A., & Olofinboba, O. (1997). Alarm effectiveness in driver-centered collision-warning systems. Ergonomics, 40(3), 390-399.

The potential use of systems that seek to communicate a warning of impending collision directly to the driver is examined. Technological advances in collision-warning systems include reliable, low-cost radars, sensors with low noise levels, and the development of accurate detection algorithms for particular crash types, e.g. rear-end collisions. However, fundamental practical constraints make perfect sensor detection difficult to achieve. Imperfect detection conflates the false alarm rate and experience with other technologies confirms driver aversion to false warnings. Although sensitive alarm systems with high detection rates and low false alarm rates have been developed, the posterior probability of a collision given an alarm can be quite low because of the low base rate of collision events. As a result, only a small proportion of alarms will represent true collision scenarios. These and other factors can conspire to reduce alarm effectiveness in collision-warning systems. The problem is illustrated analytically and potential solutions are advanced.

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