Preparing drivers for dangerous situations

A critical reflection on continuous shared control

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Abstract

Shared control (also known as continuous haptic guidance or haptically active controls) has recently been introduced in car driving. With shared control, the driver receives continuous force feedback on the gas pedal or steering wheel, so that human and machine conduct the driving task simultaneously. Experiments in driving simulators have shown that shared control reduces control variability and mental workload, and improves accuracy in path tracking and car following. Crucial to road safety, however, is not whether shared control improves performance in routine driving tasks, but what happens in dangerous situations when a conflict of authority occurs, or when the force feedback cannot be relied upon or is suddenly disengaged. Drawing on research into transfer of training, it is shown that shared control may induce aftereffects and may hamper retention of robust driving skills. Supplementary information should not be provided continuously, but on an as-needed basis, warning or assisting drivers only when deviations from acceptable tolerance limits arise.

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