Feeds

Speech-to-text drives motorists to distraction

Will talking to you mean I crash into that car up ahead, Siri?

High performance access to file storage

With texting so clearly dangerous while driving, users and vendors have turned to speech-to-text technologies as a safe alternative, perhaps to no avail.

According to a study published by US road safety group the AAA Foundation, speech-to-text technologies are more distracting than talking to other passengers in the car. The research backs up a simpler study carried out earlier this year in Texas.

To test cognitive distraction, the AAA conducted three experiments. In the first, volunteers performed eight tasks, and in the second, they carried out the same tasks while driving in a simulator. Finally, they drove an instrumented vehicle through a city residential area. The experimental tasks included listening to a radio; listening to an audio book; speaking with a passenger; using a hand-held mobile phone; using a speech-to-text interface; and a combination of memory and true/false maths problems.

In the laboratory baseline, the research found that compared to a single-task reaction time of about 460 milliseconds, speech-to-text operation had an impact similar to using a hand-held mobile, slowing participants' reaction times to around 570 ms.

In the driving simulator, speech-to-text operation was worse (noting the large error bars) than using a hand-held mobile phone – drivers' mean braking reaction time while using the mobile was around 950 ms, while a driver using a speech-to-text interface had a mean reaction time of about 1050 ms.

Other symptoms of distraction the researchers measured included “suppressed brain activity … missed visual cues, and reduced visual scanning of the driving environment (think tunnel vision).”

As the AAA Foundation notes: “Though shipments of these systems are expected to skyrocket in the coming years, use of speech-to-text communications presented the highest level of cognitive distraction of all the tasks we analysed.”

On the other hand – and apparently refuting an urban myth that car radios are just as great a distraction – the research found that listening to the radio or audiobooks only caused “minor increases in cognitive workload”.

The research was conducted with the University of Utah. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.