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First encounter effects in testing of highly automated vehicles during two experimental occasions – The need for recurrent testing

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De Gruyter


To explore driver behavior in highly automated vehicles (HAVs), independent researchers are mainly conducting short experiments. This limits the ability to explore drivers’ behavioral changes over time, which is crucial when research has the intention to reveal human behavior beyond the first-time use. The current paper shows the methodological importance of repeated testing in experience and behavior related studies of HAVs. The study combined quantitative and qualitative data to capture effects of repeated interaction between drivers and HAVs. Each driver (n=8n=8) participated in the experiment on two different occasions (∼90 minutes) with one-week interval. On both occasions, the drivers traveled approximately 40 km on a rural road at AstaZero proving grounds in Sweden and encountered various traffic situations. The participants could use automated driving (SAE level 4) or choose to drive manually. Examples of data collected include gaze behavior, perceived safety, as well as interviews and questionnaires capturing general impressions, trust and acceptance. The analysis shows that habituation effects were attenuated over time. The drivers went from being exhilarated on the first occasion, to a more neutral behavior on the second occasion. Furthermore, there were smaller variations in drivers’ self-assessed perceived safety on the second occasion, and drivers were faster to engage in non-driving related activities and become relaxed (e. g., they spent more time glancing off road and could focus more on non-driving related activities such as reading). These findings suggest that exposing drivers to HAVs on two (or more) successive occasions may provide more informative and realistic insights into driver behavior and experience as compared to only one occasion. Repeating an experiment on several occasions is of course a balance between the cost and added value, and future research should investigate in more detail which studies need to be repeated on several occasions and to what extent.


Andersson, Jonas; Habibovic, Azra; Rizgary, Daban (2021): First encounter effects in testing of highly automated vehicles during two experimental occasions – The need for recurrent testing. it - Information Technology: Vol. 63, No. 2. DOI: 10.1515/itit-2020-0023. Berlin: De Gruyter. PISSN: 2196-7032. pp. 99-110