Human Factors

Our Automotive Human Factors research focusses on the safe and comfortable introduction of vehicle automation on public roads. We use on-road experimental vehicles and virtual reality in walking, cycling, truck, and car driving simulators, to investigate and model human behaviour and perception when using or interacting with automated vehicles.

For vehicles which still have the option to drive manually we investigate:

  • Whether drivers can safely control their vehicles, after prolonged use of automation, in critical and non-critical conditions.
  • How driver state monitoring can detect whether drivers are sufficiently vigilant to take back control.
  • How shared control including haptic guidance, can assist drivers in complex traffic.
  • How well designed visual interfaces can enhance driver performance and improve decision making in traffic.

Next generations of automated vehicles will operate without human driver in the vehicle. Automation will be deployed not only on highways but also in urban and rural conditions. This creates an increasing challenge in the interaction with other (non-automated) road users including pedestrians and cyclists. Here we investigate:

  • How automated vehicles can be controlled such that their intentions are clear and acceptable for other road users
  • How can the behavior of other road users be modeled?
  • How design of communication can enhance the interaction of automated vehicles with other road users.

 

For automated driving to be successful, it needs to be accepted by individual users, by other road users, and by society. Where human factors of automated driving has traditionally focussed on safety, we now expand towards the key factors in acceptance including trust and comfort.

  • How can we establish justified trust levels in the automation.
  • How can we create a smooth and comfortable driving style, optimising comfort and preventing motion sickness even if we take our eyes off the road.
  • Can we predict motion sickness and general comfort using models of visuo-vestibular sensory integration, and postural stabilisation.