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Journal Article


Heikoop DD, de Winter JC, van Arem B, Stanton NA. Appl. Ergon. 2017; 60: 116-127.


Transportation Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, Boldrewood Innovation Campus, University of Southampton, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF, UK.


(Copyright © 2017, Elsevier Publishing)






Platooning, whereby automated vehicles travel closely together in a group, is attractive in terms of safety and efficiency. However, concerns exist about the psychological state of the platooning driver, who is exempted from direct control, yet remains responsible for monitoring the outside environment to detect potential threats. By means of a driving simulator experiment, we investigated the effects on recorded and self-reported measures of workload and stress for three task-instruction conditions: (1) No Task, in which participants had to monitor the road, (2) Voluntary Task, in which participants could do whatever they wanted, and (3) Detection Task, in which participants had to detect red cars. Twenty-two participants performed three 40-min runs in a constant-speed platoon, one condition per run in counterbalanced order. Contrary to some classic literature suggesting that humans are poor monitors, in the Detection Task condition participants attained a high mean detection rate (94.7%) and a low mean false alarm rate (0.8%).

RESULTS of the Dundee Stress State Questionnaire indicated that automated platooning was less distressing in the Voluntary Task than in the Detection Task and No Task conditions. In terms of heart rate variability, the Voluntary Task condition yielded a lower power in the low-frequency range relative to the high-frequency range (LF/HF ratio) than the Detection Task condition. Moreover, a strong time-on-task effect was found, whereby the mean heart rate dropped from the first to the third run. In conclusion, participants are able to remain attentive for a prolonged platooning drive, and the type of monitoring task has effects on the driver's psychological state.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Automated driving; Monitoring; Out-of-the-loop; Psychophysiology; Supervisory control; Vigilance


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