What Attracts the Driver’s Eye? Attention as a Function of Task and Events

Y.B. Eisma*, Dirk Eijssen, J.C.F. de Winter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


This study explores how drivers of an automated vehicle distribute their attention as a function of environmental events and driving task instructions. Twenty participants were asked to monitor pre-recorded videos of a simulated driving trip while their eye movements were recorded using an eye-tracker. The results showed that eye movements are strongly situation-dependent, with areas of interest (windshield, mirrors, and dashboard) attracting attention when events (e.g., passing vehicles) occurred in those areas. Furthermore, the task instructions provided to participants (i.e., speed monitoring or hazard monitoring) affected their attention distribution in an interpretable manner. It is concluded that eye movements while supervising an automated vehicle are strongly ‘top-down’, i.e., based on an expected value. The results are discussed in the context of the development of driver availability monitoring systems
Original languageEnglish
Article number333
Number of pages15
JournalInformation (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • driving
  • eye-tracking
  • attention


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