Gaspar, John; Cher Carney; Emily Shull; and William Horrey
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Car manufacturers have begun widespread introduction of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as automated cruise control (ACC), braking assistance, lane change assistance etc. into newer model year cars. These systems aim to partially or fully automate some driving tasks to make driving a less fatiguing and safer task. Yet, the safety of these systems in real world driving conditions is still not well understood, as numerous variables impact how these systems function. One factor that researchers have not explored in depth is driver understanding and knowledge of ADAS. How well drivers understand the limitations and operational parameters of the ADAS in their vehicle could have a huge effect on the safe operation of ADAS.


To better understand how driver’s understanding and knowledge or "mental model" of ADAS affects the safety of these systems, researchers from the University of Iowa and the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety recruited eighty drivers (ages 25-65) of varying levels of driving experience. Then the research team assessed the strength of each driver’s mental model of ADAS using a questionnaire and by observing each driver in a driving simulator. After, the research team gave each participant a brief overview of the ADAS in the simulated car and briefly trained each participant on the operation of the simulation. Finally, participants drove through a series six of simulated environments. In each of these environments conditions were such that the ADAS was expected to fail and drivers would have to take manual control to avoid a collision. The research team monitored performance, reaction time, and more during each of the scenarios.

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University of Iowa and the AAA foundation for Traffic Safety
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The Impact of Driver’s Mental Models of Advanced Vehicle Technologies on Safety and Performance
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