Fatigue and Automation-Induced Impairments in Simulated Driving Performance

  • Desmond P
  • Hancock P
  • Monette J
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A driving simulator study investigated the effect of automation of the driving task on performance under fatiguing driving conditions. In the study, drivers performed both a manual drive, in which they had full control over the driving task, and an automated drive, in which the vehicle was controlled by an automated driving system. During both drives, three perturbing events occurred at early, intermediate, and late phases in the drives: in the automated drive, a failure in automation caused the vehicle to drift toward the edge of the road; in the manual drive, wind gusts resulted in the vehicle drifting in the same direction and magnitude as the "drifts" in the automated drive. Following automation failure, drivers were forced to control the vehicle manually until the system became operational again. Drivers' lateral control of the vehicle was assessed during three phases of manual control in both drives. The results indicate that performance recovery was better when drivers had full manual control of the vehicle throughout the drive, rather than when drivers were forced to drive manually following automation failure. Drivers also experienced increased tiredness, and physical and perceptual fatigue symptoms following both drives. The findings have important implications for the design of intelligent transportation systems. Systems that reduce the driver's perceptions of task demands of driving are likely to undermobilize effort in fatigued drivers. Thus, the results strongly support the contention that human-centered transportation strategies, in which the driver is involved in the driving task, are superior to total automation.

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  • Paula Desmond

  • Peter Hancock

  • Janelle Monette

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