Automotive

Study shows automated cars make drivers complacent

Study shows automated cars mak...
“The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over. And this research clearly shows that is not happening, and gets worse as time passes.”
“The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over. And this research clearly shows that is not happening, and gets worse as time passes.”
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“The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over. And this research clearly shows that is not happening, and gets worse as time passes.”
1/2
“The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over. And this research clearly shows that is not happening, and gets worse as time passes.”
“The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over. And this research clearly shows that is not happening, and gets worse as time passes.”
2/2
“The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over. And this research clearly shows that is not happening, and gets worse as time passes.”

New research from Rice University and Texas Tech University has found that when automated vehicles miss hazards, their drivers are also likely to miss them. In addition, the longer the driver uses the automated driving system, the more likely they are to fail to react to hazards.

The argument that "auto-pilot" type features result in complacency on the part of the driver seems to make complete sense, and study put this notion to the test by examining the behavior of 60 licensed drivers operating an automated car in a simulator. Participants were made aware of the expected hazards that the automated car would not be able to safely react to, but told that they would otherwise have no reason to operate the steering wheel or pedals during the simulation.

The hazards consisted of vehicles unsafely stopped or parked in intersections, intruding into the driver's lane to various degrees. In the first 10 minutes, driver accuracy at noting and reacting to these hazard was highest at about 88 percent, meaning that all drivers missed at least some hazards from the start. And things got worse – over the 40-minute simulation, accuracy dropped between 7 and 21 percent.

The most likely explanation for the continuing drop in hazard response, said Pat DeLucia, a professor of psychological sciences at Rice and co-author of the study, is that people get used to the cars doing the driving and become complacent. The new study "suggests that this phenomenon of difficulty monitoring effectively over time extends to monitoring an automated car," DeLucia continued.

"The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over," said Eric Greenlee, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Texas Tech and the study's lead author. "And this research clearly shows that is not happening, and gets worse as time passes."

The study is published in the journal Human Factors.

Source: Rice University

7 comments
ET3D
Bottom line is, when you're driving in a simulator and doing a task that has no relation to your actual safety, you're never going to be very alert.
highlandboy
To have any form of validity they would have to have a driver drive the entire course manually for comparison. Much of our driving is done by our subcouncious, if it didn’t react to the “hazards” on manual, then there will be no reaction on auto either. Telling someone about “hazards” will not override the 1000s of hours of training.
Bob Stuart
It had to be proven, but it is totally predictable.
toyhouse
I always wonder who benefits from studies like this, (studies where the outcome is fairly obvious but someone needs to write it in stone),. Could it be auto insurers looking to charge premiums? Law makers looking to add a slew of new laws? Even those who design roads might benefit if called on to make things safer for those of us driving near dozing drivers of automated cars. Just wondering out loud.
EZ
If you can't take nap when your car is automated what's the point of the automation?
Kpar
Bob Stuart, you are spot on. One of the drawbacks to autopilot in aircraft, both general and commercial, is that the flight crew must be challenged to maintain alertness and proficiency- not an easy task. In addition, one should recall the introduction of anti-lock brakes in automobiles. Insurance companies, in order to encourage both customers and manufacturers to install same, offered premium discounts on cars with ABS. The result? In the early days, accidents INCREASED on ABS-equipped cars. Drivers often assumed that ABS would stop your vehicle quicker than unequipped cars, but that assumption was flawed- ABS simply provides better STEERING control, not necessarily shorter stopping distances, but folks drove on slick pavement like it was dry and clean. Another example of failed expectations was the introduction of 5MPH bumpers. Yes, the bumpers provided excellent, damage free contact at up to 5MPH, but what happened at 6MPH? Average body shop bills to replace that bumper at that time proved to be in excess of $1200 (and this was in the 70s, my friends!) The law of unintended consequences is ALWAYS lurking nearby...
ljaques
Automation makes drivers complacent about their driving. Hmm, so do trees, ocean views, girls in bikinis, other riders, phones, radios, computer games, soft drinks, coffee cups, cigarettes, tablets, navigators, children, pets, and sunroofs. Looks like we have a real problem on our hands, folks. Too many ADD drivers behind the wheel. What was that last study done on percentage of focus? 85% on the main task, relegating the secondary task to a mere 15% of your awareness. Bad odds when you're doing 70 on the freeway.