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but she may there met her match. tonight "techknow" investigates distracted driving. >> oh, my gosh, i'm driving like a maniac they are enticing - new cars with new technologies keeping you connected behind the wheel. but what really happens when you drive. kosta and lindsay put their brains and their driving skills to the test. what every driver must know. >> if you get an incoming email you are part of the prop ..before you get offend the i'm phil torres. 'm an entomologist. that's our team. now let's do some science >> i was doing the warm-up and i crashed. [ ♪♪ ] hey, guys, welcome to "techknow", i'm joined by kosta grammatis and lindsay moran, and i'm phil torres. as technology is advancing we are becoming a nation of multi taskers.
a lot of us pride ourselves on the ability to walk, talk and tweet and follow directions at the same time. the idea of multitasking is that. an idea that we are bad at. >> ever since the first am radio was put in the car we had distractions. as technology advance, they keep multipling. >> have you driven somewhere, arriving at your destination and you were on the phone. and you realise how did i get here. people don't know how bad they distracted. >> you guys were able to put your distracted driving skills to the test. . >> she is ex-c.i.a., trained to drive under extreme duress, and even worse. [ laughs ] >> why is elie in handcuffs. all the obstacle courses the c.i.a. put me through pale in
comparison to driving while mum. kosta never had to do any of that. he is young, brash and gen y, an engineer who grew up texting and is used to quick start-ups and fast stops. >> lindsay as an older person will not be as proficient as myself. we both take to the streets to investigate a clear and present danger. each year more than 300,000 people are killed by accidents caused by distracted drivers. what types of activities cause drivers to lose focus on the road and put themselves and others at risk? we headed to the university of utah where david straier is a neuroscience. >> our goal is to try to bench mark the things that people commonly do while driving to get an understanding of how distracting they are. >> his latest study focuses on
voice-activated commands, a feature that is common in car infotainment systems. car-makers and dealerships are eagerly touting this technology. which allows drivers to speak to their cars in order to do everything from changing the radio station to changing messages. five years ago you could have said let's separate out the phone from what the car does. they are intermingled. now, when i get into the car, my car becomes my phone. i can talk, play voice messages, talk to siri. >> using driving simulators, the team measures how commanding voice systems are. they use a host of instruments to measure changes in heart rate to brain activity. >> there are 32 electrodes on here, it's basically a modified swim cap. >> electrodes are placed around
the eyes to measure eye movements and bleption. brain signals are -- blinks. brain signals are linked to how much you are concentrating and driving, and talking on the interactions. >> you'll be able to quantify my brain activity. >> that's what we do. >> then it was time to start the engine for a warm-up lap. >> your job is go behind the black car. it will brake randomly. your job is to press the brakes when it brakes, and follow it at a close distance. >> this is awesome. it's like a real car. there's the rearview mirror, what does that do? >> you can check your blind [ laughs ] >> you're distracted. crashed. >> in addition to measuring brake response time and
following distance, the researchers used drt, detection response task device. my job was to click a finger switch as soon as the light flashed green. the same time i used speech to text software to respond to messages while driving. >> message from jeff. >> i was thinking about ideas for siri. >> green light. apply. great idea. make it happen. i'll paypal you. i'm so popular. next i drove the same course, but this time with siri. hey, siri. make an account open. >> when is your birth. >> january 16th, 2034. >> okay, what time is the event? >> 9am. . >> i didn't quite get that. >> nine. >> what time is the event.
>> 9am. . >> scheduled. >> yes. ask me what event i want? >> checking. i didn't find any events asking you what you want. >> okay. >> not only did my reaction time to the drt light and car braking in front of me slow down, i drived further behind the follow vehicle, an indication that i wasn't paying attention. siri has key phrases and words to get her to do what you want. it's frustrating, you are wracking your brain. >> i was not the only one that felt talking to syria was mentally taxing. in the study two participates crashed in the simulator because they were so distracted by siri. a lot of technology was ipp vented because people crashed phone. >> a lot of assumptions are that you can put the hands on the
wheel and look at the road, but didn't pay attention to actually paying attention to the road. >> why do most think they can multitask. while i was busy with sir yea, lindsay took another test. >> drive like you would normally your vehicle. we are interested in what happens to your ability to drive. call your mum now. >> i often talk to my mum while i'm driving. this will be true to life. hi, mum. i'm doing a driving simulation - you're watching "doctor phil." james should be bringing the boys to your house, and you're all set for the weekend. i'm in the simulator. oh, my gosh, i'm driving like a maniac. yes, i think james wants to have - oh, my gosh this is stressful. i'm going through a school zone. i'm having anxiety that a small child will cross my path.
mum, it's great talking to you, but i'll sign off. mum says this is the longest conversation we've had in 15 years. >> i'm happy to facilitate that. >> i realise each though mum was talking, i wasn't really listening to what she was saying because i was conscious of driving. which made me think that when i am driving and talking on the phone, as i often do, i'm either focussing on one thing or the other. >> exactly. >> what exactly is going on in our brains at times like that? >> what we know is you are switching attention between the two activities, the act of navigating through the driving scene and paying attention. bicycles and kids and the conversation. we ask people afterwards tell me all the places you think you made a mistake. we would have asked you how often did you speed, how much did you have difficulties making a turn? >> no idea. >> that's the pattern we find.
when people are on the cell phone, they have no idea of the rors they make. self-monitoring of how good a driver am i is lost coming up, the techno test. >> call amy at work. >> if you drive, you need toe see what happens when kosta and i are put on the spot. >> it's not what i signed up for. join the conversation by following us on twitter and at aljazeera.com/techknow. >> tuesday. from race relations to foreign policies, terrorism and the economy. >> if this congress wants to help, work with me. >> ali velshi kicks off our special state of the union coverage at 7:00. >> we'll take an in-depth look at our nation's financial future. >> then john seigenthaler breaks down the issues. >> we need to know what's going on in our backyard. >> plus, objective analysis and live reports from across the nation and reaction from around the world.
>> every monday night, al jazeera america brings you controversial... >> we have to change those things in order to make our own lives better. >> entertaining... >> there was a lot of laughter. >> thought provoking... >> it doesn't change the world but it does influence the way people think. >> surprising... >> no edits! >> exclusive one on one interviews with the most interesting people of our time. >> you're taking me to a place in this interview i haven't been before. >> conversations you won't find anywhere else. "talk to al jazeera". monday 9:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. [ ♪♪ ] hey, guys, welcome back to "techknow". we are talking about distracted driving. you guys get to try simulators showing the factors that interact with your ability to stop on type, your speed - a lot
drive. >> the simulators were bad enough. then they had kosta and i take it to the open road. >> in the world of driving everyone has a time to fail. lindsay and i get to take the driving test. happens. >> former c.i.a. agent lindsay moran and i were scheduled to rendezvous in salt lake city. their job is to talk and think on their feet. i can barely talk and drive. the mission - who will drive conditions. >> when i was in the c.i.a. a large part of my life and job was driving around - looking for people following me, trying to get information from a human source. it wasn't just my experience at the c.i.a. that gave me confidence that i could outperform kosta. i don't think anything can compare to the distractions of driving kids to
[ laughs ] >> cut it out. while they are fighting in the back seat. keep it down. talking to siri. at the university of utah, isn't professor joel cooper is testing the impact of voice-activated infotainment systems, available in many cars. kosta was up first. >> i have a headset on, a finger clicker, a heart rate monitor and a microphone. i'm like a cyborg. >> there's a g.p.s. system, a wide-angled camera. it allows us to monitor your speed, where you are looking as you drive down the road. >> to establish a baseline for the measurements, the first test was to drive while responding to the drt lights. >> as you go down the road this little light flashes red or green. when it flashes green, i'd like you to click the button. >> he took us to salt lake city.
>> you'll do a number of voice driving. >> call amy smith at work. >> call amy smith at work. she's always so busy. >> dial your own phone number. >> dial 805... no. you're stupid. >> did you say "dial." >> no, i said you're stupid. >> play your c.d. >> play c.d. turn it up. >> did you say... >> you don't get me. you just don't get me. how did i do. >> one of the things i noticed as you drove along is you slowed way down. >> i grew up learning how to drive and text and drive - it wasn't illegal. how slow did i go? >> 20, 10 miles less than the first pass. >> to provide context for how
distracting the tests are, study participants must problems. >> we want you to solve the maths problems and here is the critical thing. after it gives maths problem, it will say recall, and it's your cue to say dog, fence - whatever the words were. 0. >> two times two is four. minus two - no, you are wrong. >> recall. >> fast, milk, dish, scratch. take that. [ laughs ] >> 8 times 14. >> i didn't get that. i'm trying to drive. i feel we have gone too far.
>> again, we have a questionnaire. >> how successful were you in accomplishing what you were asked to do? what do you think? i don't know. >> one of the findings is people are not aware of their own performances. a lot of streets you have a rite of way, a car on the left or right. as you drove down, you are stopping at just about every single block. >> then it was my turp to take the test. kosta is all about scientific, person. >> okay. you want to click faster. >> i felt kosta's pain quickly. >> flag. nine defineded by nine minus one equals two. >> false. >> remember to respond to the green light. >> car, recall. >> gees. eat was one of the words. um... can we have a do over.
this is not at all what i signed up for. back on campus kosta and i made a pact never to do maths while driving again. but this proved a point. >> when we started off with the operation, frankly we hoped we'd never see anything or be close to it. we are seeing interactions that people are doing while they are driving. people are talking to siri, to post a facebook. it was a four scale. >> trying to coerce siri into doing anything takes nearly as much brain power as doing maths while driving. >> i noticed you were trying carefully to say things the way the system needed it. this is all workload. with all the systems, the systems that are error prone, it was frustration. it's bad when it misunderstands you and executes a command. calling your boss. >> "techknow" asked apple about
their test results. they told us triple a did not test car play or siri which is designed for users to access apps with minimised distraction. when we recorded our story in january 2016, select or minimum car manufacturers used the apps. when we asked what they recommended, apple de-clined to comment. coming up, you must know about the car you drive and the app you use before you get behind the wheel. >> protestors are gathering... >> there's an air of tension
[ ♪♪ ] hey, guys, welcome back to techknow, i'm phil torres, joined by kosta grammatis and lindsay moran. we have been putting you guys to the test in the simulator and on the road to see how you deal with distracted driving. all of us get competitive. who won? >> i can never operate a phone or talk to anyone while driving any more. >> in distracted driving, there's no winners. let's look at how it turned out. siri... >> from shouting at siri. >> i didn't find any event. >> to swerving out the way in state of the art simulators. kosta and i spent several days testing to what degree voice command technology can impair our ability to drive. >> that's distracting in and of itself. who can handle distraction
better. the moment of truth was at hand. >> well, earlier we had you guys in the car and evaluated both of you under a couple of different conditions. in general, kosta responded faster than what you did. >> what does that mean? >> your reaction was slower when you were engaged in the voice activities. we saw a task trade off. on the other hand, kosta slowed way down in terms of speed. reaction was faster when engaged in the voice task. it was a tie. [ laughs ] >> scientific cop out. >> what we can say is that like most people, when you engage in the secondary tasks you guys began to miss more light. that's what the data shows. >> in the real world, what could accidents?
>> when you are out there in the real world, you have children walking across the street. when you engage in the mental task you begin to become blind to the situation around you. >> there's currently 9 million vehicles on the road. voice activated systems. >> by 2018, that number jumps - 62 million. strayer tested systems offered by six manufacturers, toyota hyundai, chrysler, ford and chevy. according to the study. toyota's was the least distracting, and chevy's the most. scoring 3.7 on a 5-point scale. >> who would you like to call? >> there's a woman stuck in there. don't worry i'll free you. >> using a mix of celebrity and humour, this add pokes fun at the shortcomings of the techno.
others like chevy are trying to target the millennials, for whom important. messages. >> you have a message from chad. >> one thing that struck me about the add is how she asked chad to read a message, and asks to be told a joke. it struck me as this is a whole different experience to what one normally imagines you have in the car. what are they trying to say? >> much of that is entertainment. if we use voice-based technology, it's more sense to support the driver and the task of drivering. not to have -- driving, not to have the car telling you jokes. it's best left to the vehicle when it's not in motion. >> knowing something is unsafe doesn't automatically change behaviour, especially when it comes to the smart phones. a survey conducted by the center
for internet knowledge addiction showed 98% of respondents knew texting while driving was dangerous. yet three-quarters admitted doing it at some point. tasking? >> i think there's a number of reasons. one of the ways is we are bored. part of it is in many situations if you get an incoming email or a phone ringing, it's a rewarding signal. it triggers the same neurocircuits, and like you might find someone addicted to gambling because they go in and get the rush, you get a jackpot or something like that, the same thing gives reward when you get a phone message or email. ourselves? >> the first part is denial that it's the other guys, and not me, problem. >> food for thought as kosta and i left campus. >> you drive so fast. >> i do? >> yes.
>> you drive like a granny. >> is that how they taught you to drive in the c.i.a.? >> a little bit. we have a course called crash and burp. nothing i did in the c.i.a. compares to the distracted driving tests. to me what was surprising was realising how dangerous distracted driving is. texting while driving replaced drunk driving as a leading cause of teenage vehicular fatalities with up to 20% of teenage deaths caused by distracted driving. >> there's a fallacy that people believe the more hands free, people think they are safer. >> just like a drunk driver. >> not so. >> it's the same thing with distracted driving. you don't know how bad you are driving. maybe someone honks at you, you go oh, what is going on. >> with all the technology where, is it heading?
how can you get safer? >> incredible research is based on aviation research. you are in the cockpit of a plane. there's tops of dials and alarms distracting you from the task of flying an airplane, and there's well-documented data on how much of a mental task load you can do whilst flying. >> they are taking the research and putting it into the car. you are seeing brand new technologies introduced. they'll do the driving for us. >> i got curious, are there apps that can save us from ourselves. >> there were. i downloaded at&t drive mode. i cannot respond to text or phone calls while i'm driving and it sends a text saying that i'm driving right now, i'm unavailable. it's activated when the car goes over a certain speed. >> the apps can distract. that one servings to protect.
thank you for sharing this. it was a fun competition on a serious subject. any take-home message? >> when it comes to distracted driving, you are not as good as you are. >> exactly. when you are on the road, drive. >> that's it for this episode of techknow. we'll have more science and innovation stories next time. >> dive deep behind the scenes, and follow expert contributors on twitter, facebook, instagram and more. and >> next saturday. >> visibility was 3 to 5 nautical miles. >> weathering the storm. >> we want to show people how to replace property against the worst mother nature has to offer. >> experts forecast how to stay safe. >> i'm standing in a tropical windstorm. >> in extreme weather. >> oh my god. >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is my selfie, what can you tell me about my future? >> can affect and surprise us. >> don't try this at home.
>> "techknow" where technology meets humanity. next saturday at 7:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. freed by isil, hundreds of yazidis are released by the armed group in northern iraq. ♪ ♪ ♪ hello, ` think to al jazerra live from doha, all to come in the program. at least five people die in rioting in nyjer during protests against the charlie hebdo newspaper. grease arrests four people in connection with an alleged belgium terrorist cell. and this is the scene in manila where around 3 million have gathered to