New paper on measuring driver comfort in highly automated vehicles.

A new open access paper, led by PhD researcher Vishnu Radhakrishnan, was recently published in the  MDPI Information special issue on  Test and Evaluation Methods for Human-Machine Interfaces of Automated Vehicles.  The paper reports on a driving simulator study conducted as part of the Innovate UK HumanDrive project, and investigated how driver discomfort was influenced by different types of automated vehicle (AV) controllers, compared to manual driving, and whether this response changed in different road environments (rural and urban), using heart-rate variability (HRV) and electrodermal activity (EDA).

The lead commented, “We observed a positive correlation between participant’s phasic skin conductance response (SCR) and subjective ratings of discomfort. We also observed that resultant acceleration and jerk were the two main influencing driver discomfort when their respective threshold values for comfort were breached, as when the resultant acceleration and jerk values were within the comfort threshold, other factors such as familiarity of the drive or presence of obstacles become more prominent and noticeable in determining driver discomfort.

Radhakrishnan notes that further research is therefore warranted into understanding the value of SCR metrics in measuring driver comfort in real-time, which may be useful in developing more acceptable AV controllers in the future.