UF & UAB’s Phase 2 Demonstration Study: Developing a Model to Support Transportation System Decisions considering the Experiences of Drivers of all Age Groups with Autonomous Vehicle Technology

Although the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) may hold health and safety benefits for drivers across the driving lifespan (> 18 yrs. of age) the perceptions of such drivers about emerging technologies have up until now, mainly be solicited via surveys. This information is insufficient for engineers and planners who must make decisions about deployment of AVs for ubiquitous use. Lived experiences of drivers participating in AV modes—i.e., “driving” a simulator in autonomous mode and riding in an autonomous shuttle (AS), in combination with surveys, can more accurately reveal the perceptions of drivers before and after “driving” the autonomous simulator or autonomous shuttle, to better inform city planners and engineers. Using existing Region 4 collaboration, and including stakeholders and industry partners, this project will: (1) Quantify the younger and middle-aged drivers’ (N=106, 80% power) perceptions before and after “driving” a simulator (Level 4, SAE Guidelines1) and after riding in a highly autonomous shuttle (Level 4, SAE Guidelines1); (2) Deliver a predictive model of facilitators and barriers from data collected in Phase 2 (this proposed project) and the Phase 1 older driver data (N=105, 80% power) collected via the UF & UAB’s Demonstration Study: Older Driver Experiences with AV Technology; 15 Aug 2018-28 Feb 2020; STRIDE D2. The research team expects: (1) User perceptions, values, beliefs, and attitudes will change after being exposed to “driving” the autonomous simulator and/or the autonomous shuttle; (2) The greatest level of change will occur between pre-survey results and post-survey results; (3) The on-road experience in the autonomous shuttle may be a more positive one compared to the driving simulator; (4) Older drivers will show the greatest improvement in perceptions followed by the middle-aged drivers, and then the younger drivers; (5) The team will accurately identify predictors of user acceptance of AV technology.