Dr. Santiago Ontañón and Colleague Receive Grant for Teen Driver Behavior Project

Dr. Santiago Ontañón

April 26, 2013 — Dr. Santiago Ontañón, assistant professor of computer science, received funding from the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the project “Understanding and Predicting Human Driving Behaviors via Machine Learning Models.”

Ontañón and his colleague, Dr. Yi-Ching Lee, human factors researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), are the principle investigators for this 12-month project with a budget of $50,000 split between Drexel University and CHOP.

The project focuses on the factors of teen driver crashes, specifically poor speed management, in order to develop new training and technology to reduce accidents. As part of a study funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Ontañón and Lee have collected simulator, eye tracking and other rich data on driving skills (including speed management) from adults and novice teen drivers in the context of various roadway configurations and traffic events. From that data, the two will use machine learning techniques to automatically model speed management with human driving behavior. They aim to reveal the differences in behavior between teen and adult drivers, which could potentially inform future in-vehicle driving assistance systems or young driver training programs.