Klaus Bengler –
Intelligent Machines – Intelligent Humans
Who Changes Whom


More than 125 years of automobility remind us that we should be aware of the fact that individual mobility is based on the fact that the driver contributes exceptionally high activity and human performance in the human-vehicle system. Besides improvements in vehicle technology the human factor and human performance is crucial to avoiding accidents in critical situations. However, critical incidents and accidents can often be caused by human error or limited capacity. Since the 90s these effects have been successfully countered with a variety of driver assistance systems. Sensory deficits of the driver and misperceptions should and could be compensated by technical sensors. Drivers use these assistance systems temporarily and shall be assisted in the execution of sub-tasks of the driving task where they remain – following the Vienna Convention – in the supervisory role.
Much of the automotive period is thus characterized by the fact that the driver must manage the driving task for the most part alone and may delegate sub-tasks only for a short time. The great advantage of the car was a significant gain in mobility, based on various assistants in addition to the additional active safety leading to sometimes monotonous driving. The potential automation or partial automation of driving is not only more of the same but a radical qualitative and quantitative change in the paradigm of individual mobility, provoking many questions in the area of human factors research and human-vehicle interaction.
This will change the users’ perspective on the driver workplace and the criteria of usability and user experience that are currently highly influenced by the primary driving task. These will increasingly move towards driving plus other activities ranging from infotainment to relaxation.
The layout of the driver workplace and its evaluation have to take this into account.


Klaus Bengler graduated in psychology at the University of Regensburg in 1991 and received his Doctorate in 1994 in cooperation with BMW. After his diploma he was active on topics of software ergonomics and evaluation of human-machine interfaces. He investigated the influence of additional tasks on driving performance in several studies within EMMIS EU project and in contract with BMW. Multifunctional steering wheels, touchscreens and ACC-functionality are examples for the topics of these investigation.
In 1997 he joined BMW. From several projects he is experienced with experimental knowledge and experience with different kind of driving simulators and field trials. At BMW he was responsible for the HMI project of the MOTIV programm a national follow on programm of PROMETHEUS. He was work package leader in an actual EU project Speechdat Car, dealing with voice recognition in vehicles. Within BMW Research and Technology he was responsible for projects on HMI research.
He was active as a subprojectleader for subproject 2 “Evaluation und Methodology” within the EU funded integrated project AIDE. He is active member of ISO TC22 SC13 WG8 „Road vehicles – Ergonomic aspects of transport information and control systems“ and chairman of the German delegation.
Since May 2009 he is leader of the Institute of Ergonomics at Technical University Munich which is active in research areas like digital human modeling, human robot cooperation, driver assistance, automated driving and human reliability. Among intensive industrial cooperation the Institute is engaged in the funded Projects DH-Ergo on Digital Human Modeling and ECOMOVE on anticipative driving and H-Mode or D3COS on highly automated and cooperative driving. He is project leader in the German research initiative UR:BAN that investigates the potential of driver assistance and active safety systems in the urban area.