Conference Proceeding

Driver Performance and Workload Using a Night Vision System

  • John M Sullivan (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  • Jonas Bärgman (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  • Go Adachi (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  • Brandon Schoettle (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)


Night vision systems (NVS) have the potential to improve the visibility of critical objects at night beyond the levels achievable with low-beam headlamps. This could be especially valuable for older drivers, who have difficulty seeing at night and who are sensitive to glare. However, this benefit may also be accompanied by ancillary costs, such as the additional workload involved with monitoring and interpreting the forward view depicted by the NVS. In this study, we asked young and old subjects to drive at night on a test track while we measured distance and accuracy of target detection, subjective workload, and longitudinal control of the vehicle. In some conditions, direct view of the road was supplemented by a far-infrared NVS with two display configurations: a head-up display mounted above the dashboard, and a head-down display mounted near the vehicle midline. Night vision systems increased target detection distance for both young and old drivers, with noticeably more benefit for younger drivers. Although workload measures did not differ between the unassisted visual detection task and the NVS-assisted tasks, they were greater when driving with a detection task than without.

How to Cite:

Sullivan, J. & Bärgman, J. & Adachi, G. & Schoettle, B., (2007) “Driver Performance and Workload Using a Night Vision System”, Driving Assessment Conference 4(2007), 519-526. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2007 the author(s)

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Published on
12 Jul 2007
Peer Reviewed