Automated Vehicles of the Future Require Behavioural Driver Training, Reveals Research

As per the new study published by the RAC Foundation and the University of Nottingham, behavioural training for drivers is vital for the transition to level 3 automated vehicles. The training will make the drivers more aligned in their behaviour on the roads and at the same time, will enable them to have a better understanding of the vehicle’s abilities and drawbacks.

The study was conducted by dividing the experienced drivers into two groups and then their behaviour was observed while driving a level 3 automated car. Out of these two groups, one of them was given behavioural training including the concept of a checklist termed as “CHAT” (Check, Assess and Takeover) while the other group was trained using an operating manual.

Key highlights of the study:

  • More number of drivers from the behavioural training group were able to notice a potential hazard in comparison to the other group.
  • The drivers who were a part of a behavioural training group took better decisions in terms of lane change movements.
  • Behavioural training group drivers had better knowledge of the road environment and spent more time in preparation for a lane change.
  • They even checked their mirror more often, even after the fact that the vehicle was driving autonomously.
  • Drivers who were a part of the operation manual group took a longer duration of time in taking back the control of the automated vehicle after doing a non-driving task such as checking the mobile phone or reading a newspaper
  • The behavioural training group drivers took less time in making a glance at the road in comparison to the other group

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To put it simply, the study reveals that the role of the driver should not be overlooked even if it is an automated vehicle, as told by Emily Shaw, the lead author and member of the University of Nottingham’s Human Factors Research Group. It is pretty much evident that the behavioural training made a huge impact on the driver’s behaviour and enhanced their knowledge of the car’s abilities. The training process, “CHAT” enabled the drivers to understand their role and responsibilities, as well as they were found to be in a better state of mind while driving an automated vehicle.

The ‘CHAT’ process is based on a unique messaging design to help and prompt the drivers to quickly recollect the checks they need to undertake while making a shift from automated to manual control. “CHAT” acronym was decided keeping in mind the process remains easy to remember whenever any manual control is needed within the automated system.

The Senior Research Fellow with the Human Factors Research Group at the University of Nottingham, Dr David R Large shared that the coming vehicles will be able to achieve more automation, yet, these vehicles will still remain the same in terms of looks as the present vehicles, thus there might not present any sort of the change in that segment. However, drivers and manufacturers of the vehicles must not underestimate the fact that new skills would be required to use automated vehicles and carry out functions like switching between driving and non-driving related tasks.

Nevertheless, this study apparently proves that there is a lot that needs to be done for preparing drivers for level 3 automated vehicles. Without proper training, drivers would set fallacious or unsuitable models of automation ability that may cause misuse of automated driving. The exciting news is that there are plans in the behavioural training by which drivers can be trained to handle the automated car, however, the difficulty is in making that training happen.

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