MIT16_842F09_final_quiz

MIT16_842F09_final_q - 16.842 Final Exam(online Master Solution 1 Human Factors BMW iDrive The iDrive system is a driver interface in many upscale

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16.842 Final Exam (online) December 18, 2009 Master Solution 1. Human Factors: BMW iDrive * The iDrive system is a driver interface in many upscale BMW cars allowing the driver to operate many functions with a single knob and display integrated in the center console. The idea was to simplify the vehicle cockpit by eliminating many individual controls such as switches, gauges etc. .. and consolidating everything into a single interface. This system has been highly praised by the manufacturer, but has come under significant criticism by some. iDrive has caused significant controversy among users, the automotive media, and critics. Many reviewers of BMWs in (automobile) magazines disapprove of the system. Criticisms of iDrive include its steep learning curve and its tendency to cause the driver to look away from the road too much. Some information about the system can be found here: http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/technology/technology_guide/articles/idrive .html. Write a one paragraph analysis of this problem based on what you learned about the human factors aspects of system engineering One of the fundamental problems in interface design for complex systems that have many functions such as aircraft, automobiles, power plants etc. .. is one of depth versus breadth. Is it better to have many controls (knobs, switches, gauges ...) that control essentially only one function, or is it better to have very few controls and displays that are multi-functional. We can think of broad shallow trees versus narrow deep trees. The iDrive by BMW is an attempt at a relatively deep narrow tree with the system controlling many functions such as radio, air conditioning, navigation etc. ... There does not seem to be consensus on whether iDrive is a success or failure. It appears that short term drivers with little training on how to use the system don't like the system due to the complexity and depth of the menu structure and number of manipulations required to arrive at the right level and function. More experienced drivers that have gone down the learning curve on the other hand appear to like the system as some of the manipulations become more automatic over time. An optimal cockpit layout seems to be a compromise between depth and breadth where the most heavily used and safety critical functions that require very short reaction time are handled by dedicated special-purpose controls, while less critical secondary functions can be handled by multi-functional control interfaces. The main issue with iDrive is either the hierarchy of information and control as described above, or the cognitive overload generated by functional tree depth associated with untrained users. 3 points
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course AERO 16.810 taught by Professor Olivierdeweck during the Winter '07 term at MIT.

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MIT16_842F09_final_q - 16.842 Final Exam(online Master Solution 1 Human Factors BMW iDrive The iDrive system is a driver interface in many upscale

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