Human Factors Research

Our work enhances safety through understanding the human-vehicle relationship. 

Technology: We work to understand and advance vehicle technology and simulation science.

Understanding: We explore methods for improving driver performance and understanding of technology, such as driver training and studying mental models.

Performance: We aim to identify and shift the limits of the human-machine relationship by studying

  • Drowsy and distracted driving
  • Novice or young drivers
  • Older drivers
  • User interfaces 

Mobility: We work to enhance mobility with the use of connected and automated vehicles through research and outreach.


John Gaspar

John Gaspar

Director of Human Factors Research

News: Human Factors

O’Neal receives NICHD award to further study teen driving safety

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth O'Neal, a postdoctoral research scholar at the National Advanced Driving Simulator and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, for receiving a K99/R00 Award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
KCRG TV9 News with John Gaspar at NADS

Iowa State Patrol focus on bad driving habits with enforcement project, say distracted driving plays a role

KCRG TV9 News reports on the rise in distracted driving, what law enforcement has seen, and the research being done on distracted driving at the University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator.
KWWL: distracted driving

Expert says driver distraction is becoming more dangerous in Iowa

NADS Director Dan McGehee talks with KWWL on the dangers of distracted driving, especially on Iowa's unforgiving roads.
Cameras mounted on the exterior of the driver and passenger side doors capture lane position.

Medical research meets driving research

Does exercise change driving performance in patients with Parkinson’s disease? 

Countermeasures to reduce drowsy driving

Teen driver study

Teens at the wheel

When parents are in the vehicle with their teenage driver, crash rates are low. However, as soon as teens are by themselves, the crash rates skyrocket. Can new-driver training programs be used to effectively lower those rates?
Inside the NADS-1 simulator

NADS pulls in nearly $1.5M to further study transition of control in automated vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) recently granted the University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) a $1.45 million award to further study transition of control in automated vehicles in a simulation environment.