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James R. Sayer

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Dr. James R. Sayer is UMTRI's director and a research scientist in the Human Factors Group. He has conducted both basic and translational research in the areas of driver assistance and advanced safety systems development, naturalistic driving behavior, driver distraction, driver vision, and pedestrian conspicuity since 1993. He earned a PhD and an MS in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Human Factors Option, and a BS in psychology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Sayer currently serves as the project manager of the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment, a U.S. Department of Transportation-sponsored program to demonstrate connected-vehicle technologies in a real-world, multimodal environment. The results of the Safety Pilot Model Deployment will be used by the U.S. DOT to determine driver acceptance for, and evaluate the feasibility, scalability, security and device interoperability of connected-vehicle technologies.

In the area of driver assistance systems Dr. Sayer has contributed to the development, evaluation, and deployment of adaptive cruise control, collision warning, and collision avoidance systems in both passenger cars and commercial trucks (including simulator, test-track, on-road, and field-operational testing). He has overseen the conduct of four field operational tests involving several hundred drivers, accumulating over 1.2 million miles of naturalistic driving data. In the area of driver distraction Dr. Sayer has conducted research on the effects of cell phones and other secondary behaviors on driving performance, the frequency of secondary tasks, and driver self-regulation. His research interests related to driver vision include the effects of hydrophobic and hydrophilic glass coatings, window tinting, and defrosters/defoggers on visual performance and driving behavior. On the topic of pedestrian conspicuity Dr. Sayer has performed multiple research studies concerning the effects of retroreflective markings and safety garment design on the detection of pedestrians, emergency responders and road construction workers.