Driver Adaptation to Vehicle Automation: The Effect of Driver Assistance Systems on Driving Performance and System Monitoring

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 20:45

Little is known about how driving performance and attention change over time with increased automation. The current study assessed the effect of varying levels of vehicle automation on driver performance over time. Participants gained experience with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) across four sessions in the driving simulator. The specific driver assistance system was manipulated between subjects and included cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC), lane-keeping assist (LKA), a combination of CACC and LKA (CACC + LKA), and a control condition with no driving assistance features. Adaptation was assessed by measuring drivers' response to uneventful roadway conditions and unexpected critical events during both earlier and later exposure to the technology. Overall, the results of the current study paint an optimistic view of driver assistance technology. Participants who used the technology were able to do so in a way that benefited their driving performance and allowed them to direct more of their attention to the road ahead. Further, driver adaptation was not associated with impaired responses to emergency events. The results suggest that Level 1 driver assistance systems have the potential to benefit driver safety even after drivers have adapted to the technology following repeated use. The full report can be downloaded from the US FHWA web site at


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