Driver acceptance of partial automation after a brief exposure

Reagan, Ian J. / Cicchino, Jessica B. / Kidd, David G.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
August 2019

Driving automation systems are being introduced into mass-market vehicles, but little is known about whether drivers will trust driving automation systems and use the technology. In this study, volunteer drivers operated five vehicles equipped with automated longitudinal and lateral control and completed surveys about their experience. A subset of drivers also documented uncomfortable experiences as they used the automation while driving. Driver agreement that the automation improved the overall driving experience was significantly higher for the 2017 Mercedes E300 than systems implemented in a 2017 BMW 530i, 2019 Infiniti QX50, 2016 Tesla Model S, and 2018 Volvo S90. Drivers reported significantly higher trust in adaptive cruise control than in lane centering in every vehicle but the Infiniti. Increased agreement that the automation consistently detected lane lines; detected moving vehicles ahead; and made smooth, gentle steering inputs was associated with significant increases in agreement that the automation improved the overall driving experience. Situations where drivers reported feeling uncomfortable with the automation during their drive were dominated by instances where lane centering struggled with common roadway features such as hills and intersections.