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Cognitive neuroscience and neuroergonomics for travel analysis

This area includes research into the state of the driver during the driving activity in order to assess his cognitive availability or his emotional state, both of which can have an impact on driving performance and safety. The stakes of this research are high for the design of driver assistance systems, a field that is currently expanding rapidly with the progressive automation of vehicles. In the event of the deployment of a fully autonomous vehicle, i.e. one that requires no human intervention, it is important to work on the intermediate stages, to better understand the behaviour of drivers of an automated vehicle that needs to be taken back in hand (level 3 of autonomisation). This involves, for example, identifying the level beyond which the driver is no longer able to take control of the vehicle properly.

At Lescot, we use various physiological indicators to assess the driver's level of cognitive load, such as oculometers and brain imaging techniques (fNIRS: near infrared spectroscopy and EEG: electroencephalogram). These devices can be used to detect changes in the driver's brain activity in different experimental contexts. They can also be used to monitor the regulation of the driver's internal state, which is necessary to regain a stable emotional state - the guarantee of safe driving.

These physiological indicators make it possible to monitor the driver's state of mind to ensure not only safety but also comfort while driving. The idea is that the system should be able to detect a deterioration in the driver's internal state (unavailable for the driving task) to alert them to the occurrence of a critical event requiring rapid action on their part. The aim is to offer advanced monitoring of the driver's state, capable of combining different diagnoses (physical, defined by the driver's posture, and internal, defined by both emotional state and attentional state) so as to adapt driving actions in real time.