By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
Founding Editor, bSci21.org
According to PychCentral, Ola Benderius at Chalmers University of Technology has developed a mathematical model that accurately predicts how drivers move steering wheels moments before they do it. A central discovery on which the model is based is the following — the speed at which one moves a steering wheel is directly related to the distance in which it will move. Quicker movements of the wheel are predictive of greater turns of the wheel, and vice versa. The model is expected to be integrated into smarter cars of the future and could offer numerous safety benefits, including righting steering overcorrections in a skid or if the vehicle veers off the road.
Behavior analysts have also done much work predicting driving behavior, as seen in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management. However, it is a prediction of a different type — in the sense of predicting the outcome of a particular intervention to change driving behavior in some way. Included are interventions to promote safe driving among truck drivers (Hickman & Geller, 2008) and pizza delivery drivers (Ludwig, Biggs, Wagner, & Geller, 2008), and turn signal use at stop signs (Lebbon, Ustin, Van Houten, & Melanfant, 2010), along with many others.
A union of behavioral interventions with mathematical models could be fertile ground for interesting interdiclipinary collaborations in the years to come. For example, Organizational Behavior Management excels in providing feedback consequent on behavior to improve performance. If such knowledge could be incorporated into a smart car, immediate continuous feedback systems could be designed for optimal safety on the road.
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