(Image credit- Tech Times)
The term “semi-automated” or “Level 2 automated” refers to automobiles that have some advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) installed to automate particular driving functions.
Even if they have automated features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic parking, the driver must still pay attention and remain engaged when operating the vehicle.
The driver of a semi-automated vehicle is always in charge of retaining control of the vehicle and keeping an eye on the road. The automatic functions are intended to help the driver, not completely take its place of it.
However, as the number of semi-autonomous vehicles on the road increases, worries about potential risks when the technology fails and motorists fail to act are raised.
According to a recent study from Rice University and Old Dominion University, using straightforward vocal reminders while semi-automated driving could help drivers pay attention and increase safety.
Demanding but Boring
The study, “Boring but Demanding: Using Secondary Tasks to Counter the Driver Vigilance Decrement for Partially Automated Driving,” explores methods for making semi-automated driving safer and less accident-prone.
The senior author of the study, Jing Chen, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Rice, draws attention to the limitations of automated technology in recognizing hazardous scenarios, such as objects on the road, which may provide difficulties for automation.
Dr. Chen makes reference to a prior study she conducted to illustrate how human users frequently struggle to understand how computer vision systems can be tricked.
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For example, expertly crafted stickers applied to traffic signs may be mistakenly categorized as essential to safety by automated systems.
In these situations, human drivers might need to take over control of the car or offer assistance to make up for the automated system’s shortcomings.
A group of 117 Old Dominion University students participated in a driving activity that was partially automated throughout the experiment. Researchers observed a reduction in the participants’ level of attention as the 45-minute drive went on.
However, adding brief, straightforward questions here and there throughout the journey produced observable improvements in attention. Responses to possible threats become quicker and more efficient as a result of this development.
Importance of Paying Closer Attention
Dr. Chen emphasizes the value of increased awareness as a way to equip drivers with the ability to remain vigilant about potential threats and take appropriate action when necessary, such as taking manual control of the automated driving system.
The potential for accident avoidance and the development of a safer driving environment may lie in this improved awareness.
The results of this study provided light on a potential way to increase safety in semi-autonomous vehicles. A useful method for reducing the dangers connected with autonomous driving systems may be verbal prompts that draw in and hold the attention of drivers.