Study finds that over time using advanced assistive driver technologies can increase unsafe driving behavior.

University research examines impacts of automated vehicle technology.

Date Posted

Understanding the Impact of Technology: Do Advanced Driver Assistance and Semi-Automated Vehicle Systems Lead to Improper Driving Behavior?

Summary Information

Advanced Assistive Driver Systems (ADAS) are technologies that assist drivers or partially automate driving. Examples include braking assist technologies, adaptive cruise control systems, and lane departure warning systems. However, auto manufactures, tech companies, consumer safety advocates and others have raised concerns that such 'partial automation' may lure drivers into a false sense of security and lead to distracted and/or dangerous driving behavior.

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, in concert with the American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted a longitudinal study of driver’s behavior in partially automated and ADAS equipped vehicles. Researchers recruited participants, who regularly drove ADAS equipped vehicles at least 60 miles per weekday, from the Washington DC Metro Area. They then equipped participant’s vehicles with various sensors and cameras to collect driving behavior data. Data was collected between November 2016 and June 2018.

Similarly, researchers also tested the effects of Level 2 (L2) automation systems on driver behavior. Researchers recruited participants from the Washington, DC Metro area and provided them with a Level 2 automated vehicle for a month. Sensors and cameras recorded driving behavior.

Finally, researchers used a variety of analysis tools and statistical methods to understand the net impact of both ADAS and L2 is on driving behavior.

Using ADAS resulted in "increased occurrence of distracted driving behaviors."

  • L2 systems did not increase distracted driving behaviors
  • ADAS systems reduced the incidence of speeding behavior by about 6 percent
  • L2 systems increased speeding behaviors
  • While the number of incidences was too small to draw any firm conclusions, MFA partial automation systems appeared to increase drowsy driving incidences.
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