A Multi-Method Approach to Understanding Driver’s Experiences and Behavior Under Partial Vehicle Automation


Advanced vehicle automation features are becoming more widely available to consumers; however, the consequences of these technologies on driver behavior are not fully understood. While some studies have identified potential unintended consequences associated with automation, much of this research has been conducted in driving simulators, and few have examined how driver behavior changes over time while using these systems. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is working with researchers at the University of Utah to examine drivers’ perceptions, performance, and behavior as drivers progress through their first several weeks of real-world experience with a partial vehicle automation system.

Project Goal and Plan

This project examines how drivers’ perceptions, attitudes, and behavior evolve over time as they gain experience using a previously unfamiliar partial vehicle automation feature. In this study, drivers will be given access to a vehicle equipped with a partial driving automation feature to take home and use for their daily commutes for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. Their behaviors and habits will be monitored using in-vehicle cameras and periodic surveys. Additionally, their workload and attention while driving will be measured in a controlled on-road drive at the beginning of the study and again after the 6 to 8 weeks of driving with the technology to assess changes. These measures will provide insight into how exposure to vehicle automation impacts drivers’ perceptions, attitudes, attention, workload, and driving behavior.


William J. Horrey

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety