Australian Naturalistic Driving Study - FAQ

What is the aim of the study?

The Australian Naturalistic Driving study aims to improve road safety by understanding what people do when driving their cars in everyday situations. Results will be used to develop new road safety programs, policies and products to prevent loss of life and serious injuries on the roads.

When will it start?

Volunteers are asked to register immediately via the Screening Questionaire. The study is expected to run for three years until enough data is gathered.

Who is eligible to participate?

Male and female drivers aged between 20 and 70 with a full NSW or Victorian licence are eligible to participate, with 180 people from NSW and 180 from Victoria being recruited. They must drive at least ten trips a week.

What will participation involve?

It will take approximately five to seven hours for a car to be fitted out with the data collection equipment at a site at Rockdale in Sydney or a site at Monash University in Melbourne.

During that time the driver will spend two to three hours filling in consent forms and questionnaires on health and driving history as well as undergoing some non-invasive tests of vision, memory and grip strength.

Participants then drive normally for four months, before they complete two study exit questionnaires and the equipment is removed in a process expected to take about three to four hours.

They will receive $250 worth of gift vouchers.

What equipment will be installed?

Cars will be installed with a range of sensors and data logging equipment that operate continuously while the vehicle is turned on.
The equipment includes:

  • Video cameras that continuously monitor the roadway ahead and behind the vehicle
  • Video camera to record where the driver is looking and their use of mobile phones, radio or navigation devices
  • Stills camera to take an occasional blurred snapshot of the vehicle interior to determine the number of passengers without identifying them
  • GPS to provide the location of the vehicle
  • Lane tracker software to detect deviations from lanes
  • Front radar to detect distance to the vehicle in front and track up to six independent targets
  • Accelerometer to detect sudden stops, starts and turns
  • Sensors to detect ambient light, temperature and swerving, and use of turning signals
  • Alcohol sensor to detect the presence of alcohol in the car, although not its source
  • Mobileye sensor to detect if the car is speeding, is too close to the car in front, about to have a collision or veer off-road
  • The sensors will not issue any warnings nor prevent collisions from occurring. Audio will not be recorded unless the driver pushes a red button to describe an incident such as a near miss or a crash.

    Will it damage the car?

    No. The equipment will be mounted so as not to pose a hazard or interfere with the normal operation of the vehicle and it will be removed at the end of the study without damage to the car.

    Are there any restrictions on driving?

    The car must not be driven in areas where cameras are forbidden, such as military bases.

    How will the drivers' privacy be protected?

    The data collected by sensors and cameras will be encrypted until it is stored in a high level security location. The driver will be identified by a code number. Data such as video of the driver's face or GPS location of the vehicle will only be accessible to select researchers in a secure location. Participation in the study will be kept confidential.

    For information