Bryan Reimer, Ph.D., is a Research Engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab and the Associate Director of the New England University Transportation Center. His research seeks to develop new models and methodologies to measure and understand human behavior in dynamic environments utilizing physiological signals, visual behavior monitoring, and overall performance measures.
He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a BS in Industrial Engineering, an MS in Manufacturing Engineering and a Ph.D. Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. His doctoral work, entitled Automated Methods of Detecting Driver Distractions, showed that the size of a driver’s scan path is reduced during periods of cognitive demand. His passion for human factors and cognitive engineering brought him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he directs field and simulation studies focused on how drivers across the lifespan are affected by new in-vehicle technologies, different types and levels of cognitive load, and medical impairments such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, ADHD and autism.
Dr. Reimer’s recent research focuses on how drivers can be trained to trust and understand new vehicle technologies involving different levels of automation, the cognitive demand associated with speech interfaces, and how drivers adapt to safety systems that encompass interfaces that differ from a driver’s existing mental models of interaction.
He is an author on over 50 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers in transportation and related human factors topics. In his most recent published work, Dr. Reimer shows that physiological measures such as heart rate and skin conductance are sensitive to changes in driver demand prior to the deterioration of driving performance. This work forms the basis for developing a ‘Driver Aware Vehicle’ that considers the driver as an active participant in an integrated approach to vehicle safety.
His research has been featured in the press including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Wired, as well as in major network interviews. A 2011 BBC Horizon documentary, “Surviving a Car Crash,” focused on his work as a key innovation in the future of automotive safety.
Within the automotive industry, he has worked extensively with BMW, Volvo Cars, Toyota, Ford Motor Company, and Denso. His work has also been supported by AARP, Healthways, Johnson & Johnson, Shire Pharmaceuticals, The Santos Family Foundation and the United States Department of Transportation.