• July 9th, 2020

Advances in vehicle technology have evolved significantly in recent years and are changing the role and responsibilities of drivers. Complex automation can now control the vehicle’s speed, headway, and lane position, and capabilities continue to expand. Drivers need to understand these new vehicle features in order to use them effectively and appropriately. The understanding of automation—often couched as a driver’s mental model—has been an important topic of discussion in recent years among the research community and other stakeholders.

This report summarizes a study—the first of its kind—examining how different qualities of mental models map onto performance outcomes in a variety of automation edge-case scenarios. The results should help researchers, the automobile industry, and government entities better understand driver performance, behavior, and interactions in vehicles with advanced technologies.

This report represents one of the first outcomes of a cooperative research program between the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the SAFER-SIM University Transportation Center.

Read the full study here.