Academic questions Automatic Lane Keeping viability

A researcher at the University of Warwick is warning that Automated Lane Keeping Systems cannot be safely used until driver monitoring systems are in place.

ALKS would mean drivers could use a conditionally automated system that can take over control of the vehicle at low speeds, keeping it in lane on motorways.

But Joseph Smyth, from the Intelligent Vehicles group at Warwick’s WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group), who has been working with the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF), to create a response to the call for evidence in regards to the human side of using ALKS technology has warned that in order for the vehicle to hand control back to the driver there must a criteria for a safe operation to do so. He says some degree of driver state monitoring will be required, which researchers at WMG are currently investigating.

“Currently, there is no consensus about the most appropriate driver state monitoring system that is effective in real-world situations,” Smyth explained. “The government is advised to invest in research to set minimum system performance requirements for a DSM system. Eye tracking technology being tested by engineers in the 3xD simulator at WMG, University of Warwick.

“Currently, manufacturers use various techniques including eye tracking, head movement, steering wheel input and others – none of which have been proven to be fully suitable for the proposed technology. As, for example, eye tracking wouldn’t work if the driver was wearing sunglasses, and even if there was a sufficient DSM system there may be issues around how the data is collected and handled.

“The collection and storage of driver state data is important for understanding liability in the case of an accident. However, the public must be actively engaged with the government and automotive legislators to enable transparency in what data will be collected and stored – especially if we are talking about driver-focused cameras.”

The CIEHF team have also found that there is not enough research around the human machine interface – the relationship between the vehicle and the driver – and the government should seek to set standards around the design of these so that manufacturers can adhere to at least the minimum requirements for safe operation.

• What is the optimal method (including practicalities for on-road vehicles) to measure driver availability and attentiveness?

• What is an appropriate transition demand sequence and how should interaction with primary vehicle controls (steering wheel, brake pedal etc.) impact the handover of vehicle controls?

• What are the HMI requirements for communicating information pertinent to a transition demand?

• What are the training requirements and impact of training for safe operation of a Level 3 system?

• How should an automated vehicle (with automated driving system engaged) respond to an emergency response vehicle – including HMI and vehicle-driver communication?

• What tasks are appropriate to perform whilst a Level 3 system is activated and how do tasks impact the ability of the driver to safely regain control of a vehicle during a transition demand?

• Does enabling non-driving related tasks whilst in ‘automated mode’ increase likelihood or intention to engage with such tasks whilst driving manually?

WMG says it’s researching many area around these questions, and hope to solve them to enable safe and trustworthy CAVs on the roads.

(Picture WMG 3xD simulator. Credit: WMG, University of Warwick)

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