Past meetings of the Society
May 2017

The Boston Audio Society
Meeting Notice for Sunday, May 21, 2017, 6:00 PM
Place: Boston University, Life Science & Engineering Bldg,
24 Cummington Mall, Boston MA 02215
1st Floor Conference Room 103.

Guest: JK Pollard,

Topic/Activity: Auto’s Gear Selection Design & Unintended Acceleration, a US Department of Transportation’s Report

Last winter, a few BAS members were participants in a driving-simulator experiment intended to test how the design of the gear selector affects the driver’s ability to use it to control unintended acceleration. The objective of this study was to understand why some drivers who experienced unintended acceleration (UA) reported an inability to slow their cars by shifting to low or neutral. 161 participants were tested in a driving simulator to see how quickly they terminated the UA in both naive and trained conditions. The naive participants were not told that shifting to low or neutral would slow their car. Nor were they familiar with the particular gear selector (GS) to which they were assigned. During training, participants were told how to slow their vehicle during a UA event. Six different types of GSs were used. In the first (naive) trial, more than 80% of participants crashed or took more than 90 sec to bring speed under control. 40% never tried to use the GS. After very brief training, more than 75% were able to regain control in about 25 s. Only one type of GS was significantly more difficult to use. Immediately after the naive trial, most participants could remember that they should have downshifted. Acute stress may have inhibited their ability to do so. The results suggest changes to standard driver education programs. Four-angle-view videos of all trials were recorded, and some will be presented for your amusement.

Refreshments will be available at 5:30 PM.


The Boston Audio Society
PO BOX 260211
Boston MA 02126

problems? email Barry:

updated 6/21/17