Vehicles are increasingly utilising technologies developed in non-automotive domains. In this respect, capacitive touchscreens are familiar to smartphone and tablet computer users enabling a wide range of single and multi-touch gestures, but have not been considered fully in a driving context. A simulator study was conducted aiming to understand the visual distraction of different touchscreens in vehicles. Twenty participants drove two routes whilst undertaking a range of secondary tasks using either a traditional resistive touchscreen or a capacitive touchscreen. Results indicated a range of benefits for capacitive touchscreens in this context. Objectively, participants took less time to complete tasks with the capacitive touchscreen when compared to the resistive touchscreen. In addition, they made less glances and spent less overall time glancing towards the in-vehicle display in this condition. Finally, there was evidence for reduced lane position variability with the capacitive touchscreen on specific tasks. Subjectively, drivers overwhelmingly preferred the capacitive touchscreen over the resistive touchscreen, rating it to be relatively higher in quality and easier to manipulate, especially while driving. The conclusions highlight the importance of optimising in-vehicle interfaces for use in the safety-critical driving situation.
Burnett, G., Large, D., Crundall, E., Lawson, G., De-Kremer, S., & Skrypchuk, L. (2013). A comparison of resistive and capacitive touchscreens for use within vehicles. Advances in Transportation Studies, 31, 5-16