Examining Senior Drivers Adaptation to Mixed Level Automated Vehicles
Advances in the development of advanced vehicle technologies (AVTs), such as blind spot alerts, lane keep assist, lane alert, and adaptive cruise control, can benefit senior drivers by reducing exposure to hazards and
compensating for diminished cognitive abilities sometimes seen in this population. However, the degree to which such benefits can be realized in this vulnerable population depends largely on the degree to which senior drivers will accept, adopt, and adapt to these features. This study investigated how 18 seniors, aged 70–79, accepted, trusted, and used mixed-function AVTs when provided an AVT-equipped vehicle to drive as they desired for a 6- week period. Researchers assessed attitudes and the effect of exposure via before-and-after exposure surveys, brief weekly check-in surveys during the driving exposure period, and focus group sessions conducted after the conclusion of the driving exposure period. Analyses revealed that seniors prefer technologies that inform, such as blind spot alert, over those that assert independent control over the vehicle, such as lane keep assist. Increased confidence in and willingness to use AVTs correlated positively with exposure, with adequate time for orientation and appropriate user documentation emerging as key factors determining senior drivers’ acceptance.