Conference Proceeding

Fully-Automated Driving: The Road to Future Vehicles

  • Hamish Jamson (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
  • Natasha Merat (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
  • Oliver Carsten (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
  • Frank Lai (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)


The study investigated the impact of fully-automated vehicle control on driver behaviour, physiology and the uptake of secondary tasks in varying traffic conditions. Previous studies have indicated the potential ironies of such automation on fatigue, stress and situational awareness, but have also suggested potential benefits through enhanced safety, more efficient traffic flows and reduced driver workload. The research was undertaken in a high-fidelity driving simulator that allowed drivers to see, feel and hear the impact of the automated control. Independent factors of Drive Type (manual control, fully-automated) and Traffic Density (light, heavy) were manipulated in a repeated-measures experimental design. 49 drivers participated. Drivers experiencing full vehicle automation tended to refrain from behaviours, such as overtaking, that required them to temporarily retake manual control, accepting the resulting increase in journey time. Automation improved safety margins in car following, but this benefit was restricted only to conditions of light surrounding traffic. Automation also reduced heart rate and increased driver fatigue, the latter being mitigated somewhat by high traffic density. Furthermore, drivers became more heavily involved with in-vehicle entertainment than they were in manual driving, affording less visual attention to the road ahead. Drivers do appear happy to forgo their supervisory responsibilities in preference of a more entertaining automated drive. However, these responsibilities are taken more seriously as supervisory demand increases.

How to Cite:

Jamson, H. & Merat, N. & Carsten, O. & Lai, F., (2011) “Fully-Automated Driving: The Road to Future Vehicles”, Driving Assessment Conference 6(2011), 2-9. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2011 the author(s)

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Published on
28 Jun 2011
Peer Reviewed