Evaluating Driver Reactions to New Vehicle Technologies Intended to Increase Safety and Mobility across the Lifespan

Personal vehicle manufactures are introducing a wide range of new technologies that are intended to increase the safety, comfort and mobility of drivers of all ages. Examples range from semi-autonomous technologies such as adaptive cruise control that automatically adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a safe headway distance from a lead vehicle to blind spot identification systems that provide operators with warning information on the presence of vehicles hidden from their field of view. While part of the challenge of developing and implementing such systems is technical, equally important considerations include the extent to which the general public is willing to trust the technologies appropriately and actually use the systems in ways that produce the intended benefits. This may be particularly the case for older drivers for whom many of these technologies represent significant challenges to their mental models of how to operate a vehicle and who may be less trusting of new technologies per se. This project will evaluate drivers' reactions to two technologies recently introduced into high-end production vehicles, a semi-autonomous system for parallel parking and a cross traffic alert system designed to warn drivers of encroaching vehicles when they are attempting to back out of parking spaces. Both technologies are being promoted by the manufacturer, in part, as systems intended to reduce driver stress. An important aspect of the evaluation methodology is the collection of objective physiological data on the stress levels associated with using the technologies, in addition to more traditional self-report ratings and evaluations. The research design includes a consideration of age and gender as demographic factors that may influence technology understanding and acceptance, recruiting a sample equally distributed across individuals in their 20s, 40s and 60s and equally balanced by gender.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Principal Investigators:

      Mehler, Bruce

    • Start Date: 20100901
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20120831
    • Source Data: RiP Project 29314

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01480744
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0001, MITR23-4
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: May 7 2013 1:01AM