Name: Katerina Touliou
Job title: Research associate, Technical and Innovation Manager
Panacea project partner: CERTH
Panacea project work packages: WP1
Q1. What is your personal area of expertise?
I am a psychologist by training. My areas of interest lie in cognitive impairment and substance impairment as well as alternative sensory (olfactory) interfaces for older drivers in manual and automated vehicles.
Q2. What are you currently working on for the Panacea project?
I am the Technical and Innovations Manager, so I have my hands in many parts of the project. We just conducted interviews and focus groups with drivers and stakeholders in Sweden, Spain and Greece to investigate the needs, requirements, enablers and barriers in monitoring and maintaining health and wellbeing of commercial drivers and transportation companies.
Q3. Tell us about one particularly striking thing that you learned from your latest research for the project.
I was astonished by how technology savvy and aware the professional drivers are, even if we are talking about technologies that do not exist yet. They easily grasped the concept of PANACEA and had many ideas to share with us. They exhibited genuine interest in their own and others health and the need for transparency with their clients was also an important point. Experiencing the COVID era may have awakened us towards the necessity to better take care of ourselves and others.
Q4. Explain how you think this will help the Panacea project achieve its aims of improving fitness to drive among professional transport workers.
By working with the professional drivers in their work environment, we will be able to get a holistic perspective that it is both cost- and ‘human’-effective.
Q5. Why is working on a road safety project important to you?
When I first started working in road safety research, I was privileged and honoured to be part of the DRUID project, which was a huge milestone in DUI research and I was really interested in how the human state can heighten the driving risk and worsen the experience in situations where their ability is affected, but they have not yet realised it. Bringing these experiences and knowledge to commercial transportation, where people spend much of their day behind the wheel, it makes it even more important and vital.