Lundkvist, A., Nykänen, A., and Johnsson, R., "Signal Sound Positioning Alters Driving Performance," SAE Int. J. Trans. Safety 4(1):1-7, 2016, doi:10.4271/2015-01-9152.
Many of the information systems in cars require visual attention, and a way to reduce both visual and cognitive workload could be to use sound. An experiment was designed in order to determine how driving and secondary task performance is affected by the use of information sound signals and their spatial positions. The experiment was performed in a driving simulator utilizing Lane Change Task as a driving scenario in combination with the Surrogate Reference Task as a secondary task. Two different signal sounds with different spatial positions informed the driver when a lane change should be made and when a new secondary task was presented. Driving performance was significantly improved when both signal sounds were presented in front of the driver. No significant effects on secondary task performance were found. It is recommended that signal sounds are placed in front of the driver, when possible, if the goal is to draw attention forward.