DENSO, MIT AgeLab and Touchstone Evaluations Establish New Consortium to Study Driver Distraction

DENSO, MIT AgeLab and Touchstone Evaluations Establish New Consortium to Study
                              Driver Distraction

-- OEM Members include Honda, Subaru and Jaguar Land Rover --

PR Newswire

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Jan. 14, 2014

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --Leading a new effort to
address the continuing challenge of  driver distraction, global automotive
supplier DENSO, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab and
Touchstone Evaluations have founded a consortium, Advanced Human Factors
Evaluator for Automotive Distraction (AHEAD), that aims to develop new
perspectives and methodologies for a holistic and objective approach to
measuring driver demand. Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Subaru Research &
Development and Jaguar Land Rover have joined the program as initial partners,
and discussions with other global automakers and portable electronics
suppliers are ongoing.

The new consortium brings together leading researchers, automakers and
suppliers to take a fresh look at methods to reliably and repeatedly assess
the demands associated with in-vehicle interactions. Further, this work aims
to provide the auto industry with an evaluation platform that better supports
driver safety as the potential for automotive human-machine interface (HMI)
complexity increases.

"We know drivers want to be connected while driving, but how do we safely give
drivers what they want?" said Doug Patton, senior vice president of
Engineering at DENSO International America, Inc. "We need to evaluate driver
workload – but currently there is no quantifiable and objective metrology
model in place. Not to mention, there's a high price tag attached to
researching and developing something like this. With that said, forming a
consortium will help reach the goal of establishing a common methodology."

The Goal of AHEAD:
Current evaluation methods for HMI technologies are primarily based upon
criteria developed before the advent of modern integrated technologies such as
voice interfaces, touch screens and multi-function controllers. Perhaps most
importantly, the evaluation methods utilized to date don't consider the
tradeoffs that exist as demand is moved between modalities such as vision,
touch, sound, haptics, gesture and cognition. The effort aims to make early
stage prototype evaluations more feasible where design changes can be more
effectively achieved – in contrast to evaluations that frequently take place
later in the vehicle development process.

"Establishing a common understanding of human performance of in-vehicle tasks
that can distract drivers from the primary task of operating the vehicle
safely is an important goal for the industry," said Steven Feit, Chief
Engineer of Infotainment Development at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "This type
of research and collaboration will lead to new automotive innovations and the
inclusion of exciting features and consumer technology that can be operated
safely in vehicles."

The goal of AHEAD is to create a quantifiable objective evaluation toolkit
that will be useful across the industry for supporting new HMI development;
and, one that will improve the effectiveness and reliability of data, helping
manufactures and portable electronics suppliers offer intuitive, convenient
and safe interfaces to the consumer while more effectively meeting industry
and governmental guidelines.

Joining forces to lead the technical effort are researchers from the MIT
AgeLab and Touchstone Evaluations, Inc. The MIT AgeLab has lead efforts to
utilize to multi-dimensional assessment by holistically combining
physiological, visual attention and performance measures as part of HMI
evaluation. "Physiological measures complement traditional visual attention
and performance measures to provide a more complete picture of the interacting
demands of modern HMI." Dr. Bryan Reimer, a Research Scientist in the MIT
AgeLab, the Associate Director of The New England University Transportation
Center at MIT and the MIT technical lead for AHEAD.

About MIT AgeLab:
The MIT AgeLab was created in 1999 as a global research program to invent new
ideas and creatively translate technologies into practical solutions that
improve people's health and enable them to "do things" throughout the
lifespan. Based within MIT's School of Engineering's Engineering Systems
Division, the AgeLab has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of researchers,
business partners, and universities, to design, develop and deploy innovations
that touch nearly all aspects of how we will live, work and play tomorrow.
Core research themes include transportation, health and wellness, and
longevity planning.

About Touchstone Evaluations:
Touchstone Evaluations, Inc. was founded in 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. It is a
new-generation human factors firm that provides research and consulting
services in the automotive and consumer-product sectors. It is distinguished
by the priority it places on scientific rigor, and by its focus on creating
the "next practices" of user interface development, which will lead to
effective and pleasing products. Touchstone's founders are award-winning
scientists and engineers in the field of driver performance assessment and
vehicle evaluation, who collectively have over 85 years of experience in the
automotive industry. Of the client-customized services which Touchstone
delivers annually, typically 75 percent are focused on driver multitasking,
attention, and distraction-assessment, 15 percent on active safety and
emerging automotive technologies (including automation), and 10 percent on
User Interface innovation. For more information, visit

About DENSO: Currently, in North America, DENSO employs more than 17,000
people at 32 consolidated companies and affiliates. Of these, 22 are
manufacturing companies that have 28 production locations in the United
States, Canada and Mexico. In the U.S. alone, DENSO employs more than 12,000
people in California, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,
Kentucky, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and Arkansas. DENSO's North American
consolidated sales totaling US$6.8 billion for the fiscal year ending March
31, 2013.

DENSO Corporation, headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a
leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and
components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and
information and safety. Its customers include all the world's major carmakers.
Worldwide, the company has more than 200 subsidiaries and affiliates in 38
countries and regions (including Japan) and employs more than 130,000 people.
Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, totaled
US$38.1 billion. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 9.4 percent of its global
consolidated sales on research and development. DENSO common stock is traded
on the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges. For more information, go to, or visit our media website at

SOURCE DENSO International America, Inc.

Contact: Bridgette LaRose, DENSO International America, Inc., Phone: (248)
372-8266, Email:; Angelina Gennis,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, Phone: (617) 452-4522, Email:; Cynthia Nehr, Touchstone Evaluations, Phone: (313) 378-2242,
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