Out of the box: assessment of cognitive and usability aspects of in-car navigation system use

Inter-disciplinary project evaluating efficacy of navigational instructions in sat-navs

This research is focussed on investigating people’s preference and performance during the use of auditory route information while driving new and unfamiliar routes. Over the last decade, researchers have become increasingly interested in the levels of driver distraction caused by a range of in-car devices. Much of this research has focused on the effects of in-car mobile phone use. However, a recent rise in the popularity of in-car navigation systems has also sparked research into the distraction that these devices might cause. Although a number of studies have investigated the optimal timing for presentation of auditory route information as well as the most effective types of informational content for these instructions, there is much less research on the cognitive demands imposed by the act of processing auditory instructions of any kind, and on the impact that these cognitive demands might have on the task of driving. We address this issue using a multi-disciplinary approach to collect both qualitative and quantitative data through questionnaires and user experiments.


Project Team

AgarwalAgarwal Pragya Agarwal Place and Sense of Place, Spatial Cognition, Navigational Technologies, Mobility, Information Visualisation, Semantics and Spatial Ontologies


Sat-Nav paper recieves wide media attention

Sat-Nav paper recieves wide media attention

We are very excited about the wide interest that this journal article generated. Dr Agarwal was interviewed on BBC Breakfast News, 7 June, about research which analyses the effects that sat navs have on people's driving abilities. She was also interviewed on various local and regional radio...Read full update

Driving with navigational instructions: Investigating user behaviour and performance

OutcomeJournal Paper

This paper reports the results of an inter-disciplinary study investigating user preferences andperformance in relation to spoken in-car route guidance. In-car navigationsystems are becoming increasingly popular. However, despite large amounts ofresearch assessing the presentation of spatial...More information