• June 5th, 2020

New advanced technologies are being integrated into vehicles at an accelerating pace, offering new safety and convenience features to drivers. However, in addition to being complex systems in and of themselves, these technologies stand to change the fundamental nature of the driving task, especially as the systems take on more of the driving responsibilities. Driver knowledge and understanding of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)—sometimes referred to as a driver’s mental model—are important considerations in the safe and appropriate use of these systems. For example, the driver needs to understand the functions of the ADAS as well as the limitations of the system and what conditions and situations the technology is (not) designed for.

Although past research has examined how mental models are developed as well as their impact on trust and acceptance of technology, research is generally lacking on how the quality of one’s mental model translates to performance and safety impacts. The goal of this project, based on a cooperative research program between the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the SAFER-SIM University Transportation Center, was to map the quality of drivers’ mental models of adaptive cruise control (ACC), a common ADAS, to performance in a driving simulator study.

Read the full study here.