Effects of Alert Cue Specificity on Situation Awareness in Transfer of Control in Level 3 Automation

Drivers in a Level 3 automation environment typically need at least 8 s following a manual takeover request to achieve appropriate levels of situation awareness. Studies that have derived this time estimate use general audio alerts that suggest a transfer of control from the automation to the driver might be required. The current experiment examined if improvements in younger drivers’ situation awareness might be observed in as little as 4 s before a latent hazard might materialize and a transfer of control occurs if more specific audio alerts are used. Younger drivers either drove manually with no cue or in one of four automation conditions: (a) a general cue condition, (b) a condition that described the risky features of the roadway and the location of those features, (c) a condition that contained information about the actual identity of the threat and the required behavior, and (d) a combination cue condition (both environment and threat cue). Eye movements were recorded as drivers completed six scenarios in a simulated automated driving experiment. The results showed that audio cues that contained information about risky roadway features increased the detection of latent hazards by almost 40% compared with when a general cue or a threat cue was used. Performance with the combined cue was no better than performance with the environment cue. The environment cue gives drivers the critical seconds needed to mitigate a potential crash. Results are informative about which types of alerts to use to inform drivers of upcoming hazards.


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  • Accession Number: 01623645
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309442060
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 17-01140
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 8 2016 10:20AM