Tangent Point Orientation and Anticipated Trajectory Curvature – A Field Study on the Visual Control of High Speed Steering

Abstract

One visual strategy in the visual control of driving is tangent point orientation – directing gaze to the area of interest (AOI) around the tangent point. Yet there is no consensus on whether the actual gaze target is the tangent point itself – or some other road point in its vicinity - and what the functional significance TP targeting (looking at the tangent point) or TP orientation (looking at a point in the TP AOI, but not necessarily the tangent point) might be. We report a previously unobserved dependence between gaze distribution on road curvature: gaze concentrates on the part of the road where the vehicle yaw rate will be highest. We suggest this geometric property of the future path may act as a functionally salient visual reference for the driver, and that “tangent point orientation” may in some cases be a side-effect caused by the spatial contiguity of these points.


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