Study shows humans do not yet fully understand how to drive autonomous vehicles

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Human drivers do not yet know enough about autonomous vehicles to take advantage of them, according to new research from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in the UK.

The study, conducted as part of the GATEway driverless car project in Greenwich in London, investigated how human drivers might adapt their behavior in the presence of autonomous vehicles.

Participants conducted a series of short driving scenarios in TRL’s DigiCar driving simulator in a 3D virtual replica of the Greenwich Peninsula developed by Agility3. These scenarios included overtaking and junction driving tasks, with the recognizability and proportion of automated vehicles in traffic varied to represent the transitional phase between a fully and partially automated vehicle fleet.

Results indicated that the majority of motorists did not change their driving behavior and continued to make decisions about overtaking or pulling out into traffic based on gap size assessments and judgements of safety.

Overall findings suggest driver behavior would remain largely unchanged in the presence of autonomous vehicles, however tentative evidence was found that some drivers may adapt their driving behavior as autonomous vehicles become more prevalent.

For example, drivers were found to pull into smaller gaps between vehicles at junctions when there are more automated vehicles in the traffic, but drivers did not necessarily intercept automated vehicles more readily than human driven vehicles.

For more on the GATEway project, see the November issue of Automotive Testing Technology International. 

February 6, 2017

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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