We report on three studies that adopt a highly controlled experimental approach to investigate transitions out of automated driving. In these studies groups of participants experienced many repeated short trials (20s) of driving on curves, which consisted of an initial period of automation followed by a quick system-initiated transition to manual control by the human driver. The behavioural focus is on the primary factors determining steering control in the first few seconds after transitions out of automated driving. In the first two studies we examined how steering was affected by where a driver was looking (gaze direction) both before and after automation (Pilot1), and the driver’s level of perceptual-motor calibration to their environment (Pilot2). In the last study we report both steering and gaze behaviours under varying levels of an auditory distraction task (Pilot3). Due to some simulator issues that were uncovered after testing (Supplementary Materials) there was greater noise in these data than we consider ideal. We have, however, extensively analysed these data and believe that the findings nevertheless represent a useful and valid scientific contribution.
The headline findings are:
- The direction of where you look during the seconds before a transition may influence how you steer during manual control immediately after automation.
- Active control of steering appears to be necessary for drivers to adapt steering control in response to altered environmental conditions (in our experiments an increase in speed).
- Increased cognitive load led to gaze sampling that was more concentrated and steering that was smoother but more erroneous. In our particular scenario, however, any potential interaction with automation was unclear.
If you have any questions or correspondence related to this update please contact: Prof Richard Wilkie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Callum Mole (email@example.com).