Driver Safety – Distraction Due to Drones

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Drone usage is rapidly growing. Both commercial and recreational uses are evolving. As new uses are discovered and new technical capabilities are adapted to drone use, new gaps in best use practices and/or regulations will be discovered. Based on existing regulations related to drone operations, there are gaps in knowledge relating to the potential safety concerns of drone operations near roadways. Most regulations relate to avoidance of crashing that could damage property or injure people. This course focuses on the effect of drones in the way they can distract drivers, and is based on a study by Oregon State University on the effects of drones on distracted driving in various driving situations. The study examined, through the use of a driving simulator, the distance from the edge of the roadway at which drone operation around highway corridors could potentially become a visual or cognitive distraction, affecting driving performance.

This course can help the student operate a drone more safely by avoiding or minimizing the most distracting situation. It is intended to serve as a first step in understanding how much these devices can affect drivers and the level of care that is needed to minimize levels of distraction.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end and is intended to provide 7 hours of professional development.


At the conclusion of this course, the student will have learned or been exposed to the following:
• Drone System Components
• Types of Drones
• Current Uses for Drones in Transportation
• Current Civil/Commercial Use
• Recreational/Hobby Use
• Issues in Drone Use
• Prevalence of Drones
• Potential Future Uses of Drones
• Federal Regulations
• Distraction Types
• External Distractors
• Distraction Simulator Studies
• Post-Drive Survey Results
• Experimental Equipment
• Experimental Design
• Driving Simulator Experimental Protocol
• Visual Attention
• Effects of Lateral Position
• Effects of Speed
• Lane Position and Velocity
• Results and Conclusions

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