AV Technology Needs to Take the Realities of Human Behavior into Account

Autonomous vehicle technology assumes that partial automation, where people are in control of vehicles at varying levels, is feasible. But research shows this is not how humans behave.

1 minute read

March 5, 2020, 9:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Self-Driving Cars

Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock

Bob O’Donnell writes about delays in the development of autonomous vehicle technology. One issue, he says, is that the current system of automation levels, which range from no automation at Level 0 to full automation at Level 5, do not adequately account for human nature.

This range assume that vehicles can be semiautonomous, as reflected in Levels 2-4, where people are always ready to take control. "But people don’t behave that way in the car. They either they pay attention, or they don’t," says O’Donnell.

He argues that a two-category distinction, assisted or autonomous, more accurately captures human behavior and would help with the long-term development of this technology.

"Full-throated advocates of full vehicle autonomy may decry any further delays to an autonomous driving world, but simplifying and focusing car technology developments into two simple categories is a safer and more realistic choice for the long term. Anything in between isn’t only impractical, it’s dangerous," says O’Donnell.

Monday, February 17, 2020 in Fast Company

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