The following information was provided to potential participants when recruitment was ongoing; it has now ended.

Data Acquisition System (DAS) and Installation

Data Acquisition System

The installed instrumentation or data acquisition system will collect data using a number of sensors and video cameras whenever the vehicle is running. The data acquisition system (DAS) that will be used for this study will compile data from the vehicle network as well as from sensors added for this particular study. The general design characteristics for the DAS include the following:

  • Compatible with the vehicle
  • Unobtrusive and non–invasive with minimal physical space requirements (for data storage unit)
  • Non–distracting
  • Requires no permanent modifications to the vehicle, except in some cases where a standard front license plate holder would need to be installed.
  • Automatic start–up, shut–down, and continuous operation while driving
  • Continuous multi–camera video recording system to capture driver's face, forward and rear views, and a view of the driver's interaction with dashboard or other systems
  • A blurred, still snapshot of the passenger cabin to obtain information on the number of passengers. Unconsented passengers will not be identifiable from these blurred snapshots.
head unit installed in an instrumented vehicle

Head Unit from the Passenger Perspective. From the driver's perspective, it is barely noticeable.

There are three primary components: The Head Unit, the Main Unit, and the Front Radar.

Head Unit

The Head Unit is approximately 4” X 5” in size and is mounted in the vicinity of the rear view mirror, but does not obstruct the driver's view. Cameras, other sensors, and an incident pushbutton are incorporated into the Head Unit:

  • Cameras: Digital video cameras will be used to continuously record the driver and the driving environment. Four video cameras will be mounted unobtrusively in order to facilitate naturalistic driving behavior. The four camera views will be: (1) forward roadway view, (2) driver's face view, (3) a view of the driver's interaction with dashboard or other systems, and (4) rear and right–side view. A fifth camera will periodically take still snapshots of the cabin to determine passenger information. This image will be blurred to protect passengers' confidentiality.
  • Incident Push Button: The digital video files will not record continuous audio. However, the DAS has been designed such that the driver can press an incident button which opens a 30 second recording channel so the driver can briefly describe what happened. The incident box will be mounted near the rearview mirror and will be used by participants who wish to flag driving safety–related events (for example, to point out that someone cut them off) or to describe a crash or near–crash.
  • A main unit installed in an instrumented vehicle

    The main unit is affixed to the inside top of the trunk. In a van or truck, it would be located under a seat.

  • Ambient atmospheric analyzer: This sensor is capable of detecting alcohol in the passenger compartment. It will not be able to distinguish whether the alcohol was imbibed or applied (as in hand sanitizer or mouthwash), nor will it be able to distinguish whether it is emanating from the driver or a passenger.

Main Unit

The main unit is quite small — about the size of a book — and will be mounted in the trunk, under the dash, under a seat or elsewhere (depending on the vehicle make and model) using customized mountings that use existing attachment points. The main unit also incorporates the vehicle network box which will be located under the front dashboard and collect information on vehicle speed, throttle position, turn signal use, and brake application, as available from the vehicle network.

Front Radar

Radar will be mounted on the front of the vehicle for data collection. It does not function as a radar detector and is legal to have on the vehicle.


Front radar shown on one of VTTI's research vehicles

Front Radar

The DAS will be installed on your vehicle during your enrollment session. You will be asked to bring your vehicle to the research facility to have the DAS installed. Before we begin installation, we will show you where we intend to place the system and show you pictures of what a completed installation will look like.