My area of Research on Automated Vehicles


With the growing commercial viability of Automated Vehicles, there is a huge array of Research that is being undertaken to determine the public’s viewpoint on the concept of owning/using an Automated Vehicle.

Research from the likes of Gold, Körbera, Hohenbergerb, Lechnera, and Benglera (2015) has already indicated that one of the precursors to the acceptance of a new technology, is that of trust, or, as described from Schaefer, Chen, Szalma, and Hancock (2016); “No trust, no use”. The indication of understanding how a consumer trusts a vehicle is paramount to the adoption of this newfound technology, and must be nurtured to have any major impact on consumers day-to-day lives and the investment that companies have made into this technology.

A meta-analysis by Schaefer, Chen, Szalma, and Hancock (2016) indicates an array of factors that effect trust on automation:

Firstly, the concept of States on a consumer, an example is that of stress level; Consumers can feel different levels of stress throughout their lives and will effect both positively and negatively the trust level towards an automated vehicle. This idea of states is also applied to the concentration, or attention of a human on automated machinery. Several studies have indicated that operators with lower attentional control will rely more heavily on automated systems, that those with a higher attentional control (Schaefer et al., 2016, 381).

Secondly, which closely relates to that of States, is Cognition. A user’s trust is influenced by their learning experience and their ease of interacting with an automated piece of machinery. Further to this, a users prior knowledge of alternate automated systems drastically improves a users trust over an automated system (Schaefer et al., 2016, 382). The significance of this is uncanny as this proves the difficulty manufactures are going to have, in regards to acceptance of the newfound technology. Overtime it is highly likely, as this research indicates, that trust of automated systems would be something of a natural adoption due to humans previous understanding of automated systems.
Another cognitive factor, is the mental workload influenced by the automated system on the human. Previous research utilised with combat based tasks, shows a degradation of trust on automation, when the mental workload is high whilst interacting with the automated system (Schaefer et al., 2016, 382).

These two factors are but a small snippet that has been identified and would essentially form their own book which is not the role of this Blog.

Areas of research that need exploring

From all the literature, there are a few areas which are clear need truly understanding that may assist in providing an insight into the challenge of trusting an automated vehicle.

One area, is the understanding of the difference in age ranges, specifically why the current status quo of technological adoption seems to be being questioned via the automated vehicles. The existing status quo, is that younger people are more likely to adopt a newfound technology, far quicker and easier than an elderly person. Research on automated vehicles, shows a slightly different conclusion that young people have less trust in an automated vehicle than elderly people, one study proved this via the use of eye tracking which indicated a high horizontal deviation in young people compared to elderly people. However, the improvement in trust after the study was far more significant in young people than that of elderly people. The consideration for a research topic here, is not what change in trust is there after a participant is subject to influence from an automated vehicle, but why there is a change in trust, specifically in younger people?

Another area, is the understanding of whether there is a significant trust difference between males and females related to automated vehicles. All studies show a fairly equal proportion of males and females in studies, but there is no measure of any change between genders. If there was a significant difference, it would indicate an interesting area of investigation to determine whether there is a solution that could balance the viewpoint of whichever gender trusts the automated vehicle less.

Finally, an area which hasn’t been investigated. is the trust difference between before and after a critical failure of an automated vehicle, in this case a cyber attack. There is already trust understanding of the difference between stagnant lane driving and a take-over scenario, however there is no understanding of a trust effect when an unexpected failure/cyber attack was to occur on a consumers vehicle. This is an interesting area although ethically questionable.


Out of the three areas of research that could be selected, there is still questions and approval that needs to be answered before a decision and an ethical application can be made before selecting the correct research topic. Once a research topic has been decided on, it will be documented here.


Gold, C., Körbera, M., Hohenbergerb,C. , Lechnera, D., and Benglera, K. (2015) Trust in automation –Before and after the experience of take-over scenarios in a highly automated vehicle. In: 6th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2015) and the Affiliated Conferences, AHFE 2015, Las Vegas, United States, 26-30 July. [Unknown]: Elsevier B. V., 3025-3032. Available from [accessed 2 February 2018].

Schaefer, K. E., Chen, J. Y. C., Szalma, J. L., and Hancock, P. A. (2016) A Meta-Analysis of Factors Influencing the Development of Trust in Automation: Implications for Understanding Autonomy in Future Systems. Human Factors: The journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 53(3) 377-400. Available from [accessed 2 February 2018].

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