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Nature. 1994 Jun 30;369(6483):742-4.

Where we look when we steer.

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Sussex Centre for Neuroscience, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.


Steering a car requires visual information from the changing pattern of the road ahead. There are many theories about what features a driver might use, and recent attempts to engineer self-steering vehicles have sharpened interest in the mechanisms involved. However, there is little direct information linking steering performance to the driver's direction of gaze. We have made simultaneous recordings of steering-wheel angle and drivers' gaze direction during a series of drives along a tortuous road. We found that drivers rely particularly on the 'tangent point' on the inside of each curve, seeking this point 1-2 s before each bend and returning to it throughout the bend. The direction of this point relative to the car's heading predicts the curvature of the road ahead, and we examine the way this information is used.

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