Drivers who use advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) grow more comfortable with the technology over time – sometimes too comfortable, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The study found after weeks of using ADAS, attention to driving tended to drop.  However, drivers also used ADAS more when highway demands were lower.

“The AAA Foundation findings from this research are a cautiously positive sign for the future of vehicle automation,” said Dr David Yang, president and executive director of the AAA Foundation. “As drivers become more comfortable with the technology, they will be more likely to use it, which could lead to safer and more efficient transportation. But they must use it properly and understand the system’s limitations.”

The study involved 30 drivers operating a vehicle with advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) features, including Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assistance. Participants drove the ADAS-equipped vehicle for six to eight weeks on highways and were assessed before, during, and after on their behavior and attitudes toward the driving assistance technology.

The research revealed that drivers initially paid more attention to the driving task when using ADAS than when driving manually. However, after a few weeks of experience, drivers began to relax and multitask more often while the vehicle was in partial control.

The Foundation said the findings suggested drivers could learn to trust and rely on ADAS over time, but should be aware of the technology’s limitations and be prepared to take over in an emergency.


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