Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

The future of driving: Human factors of driving a highly automated car

SupervisorDr Natasha Merat

This project will build upon some of the current work conducted in this area, using theUniversity of Leeds Driving Simulator.

The driving task is becoming more and more automated and it is now possible for various aspects of driving to be controlled by a range of automation and assistance systems. Examples of such systems include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) and Lane Keeping Assistance System (LKAS), as well as various collision warning and avoidance systems, which use radar detection devices. The idea behind the implementation of most such systems is that they will provide assistance and comfort to the driver, reducing the number of road accidents by increasing safety. Indeed, in the case of a highly automated driving scenario, there is no longer a need for the driver to be involved in the driving task, and his/her role moves from one of an operator to a system supervisor, simply monitoring the functioning of the automated vehicle.

This project will investigate driving behaviour in such highly automated vehicles, assessing how automation affects factors such as loss of skill, situation awareness, distraction and workload. 
Drivers’ understanding of the automated system and related HMI can also be investigated.

This project is suitable for candidates with a background or interest in the behavioural sciences.

Further reading:

Flemisch, F., Kelsch, J., Löper, C., Schieben, A., & Schindler, J. (2008). Automation spectrum, inner/outer compatibility and other potentially useful human factors concepts for assistance and automation. In D. de Waard, G.R.J. Hockey, P.Nickel, and K.A. Brookhuis (Eds). Human Factors Issues in Complex System Performance (pp. 257-272). Maastricht, The Netherlands: Shaker Publishing.

Martens, M. Pauwelussen, J., Schieben, A., Flemisch, F., Merat, N., Jamson, S. & Caci, R. (2007. Human Factors’ aspects in automated and semiautomatic transport systems: State of the art. Deliverable 3.2.1: http://www.citymobil-project.eu/

Merat, N & Jamson, H. (2009). How do drivers behave in a highly automated car? Proceedings of the Fifth International Driving Symposium on Human Factor in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design, Montana, USA.

Merat, N. & Jamson, A.H. (2009). Is drivers’ situation awareness influenced by a highly automated driving scenario? In D. de Waard, J. Godthelp, F.L. Kooi, and K.A. Brookhuis (Eds.) (2009). Human Factors, Security and Safety (pp. 1 - 11). Maastricht, the Netherlands: Shaker Publishing.

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