All Projects

How does training affect expectations and use of a vehicle self-driving feature?

Evaluating consumers’ understanding of partially automated driving systems

New vehicles increasingly include features that allow the vehicle to control its speed and lane position without the driver doing anything. Drivers do not always receive accurate and complete information about these features’ capabilities and limitations, which can lead to unsafe behaviors and overreliance.

For the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Westat conducted research on consumers’ understanding of partially automated driving systems.

Westat randomly assigned 90 participants to 1 of 6 training conditions. Each condition was a combination of a marketing/branding approach (to either emphasize the technology’s limitations or capabilities) and a training mode (printed quick-start guide; training video; or in-person, on-road demonstration).

The study participants

  • Received training on use of a self-driving feature present as original equipment in a production vehicle
  • Completed a post-training questionnaire assessing their mental model of system operation and capabilities
  • Drove the vehicle on a freeway route using the feature for 35 minutes
  • Completed a final questionnaire after the drive

A branding approach that emphasizes feature capabilities, compared to an approach that emphasizes limitations, led to greater confidence in the capabilities of the feature in ways that might lead drivers to over-rely on it or use it unsafely.

Participants were more likely to report willingness to engage in potentially distracting or risky behaviors in the condition that emphasized capabilities. The differences observed in drivers’ initial mental models often persisted after participants used the feature on the road.

The results show the importance of providing information about self-driving technologies that accurately reflect their capabilities and limitations.

Want to work with us?
You’ll be in great company.

About Us Careers

Westat Employees.
Westat Employee.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Baltimore Metropolitan Council
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
DC Public Schools
Georgia Department of Transportation
Internal Revenue Service
Leadership Montgomery
Maryland Cancer Registry
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
National Science Foundation
NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
SiriusXM
Social Security Administration
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Teach for America
Texas Education Agency
The Johns Hopkins University
The National Institutes of Health
The Verizon Foundation
Toyota
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
University of Maryland Baltimore Campus
University of Michigan
University System of Maryland
Explore Our Clients

Please wait...

Forbes 2021 The Best Employers for Women Powered by StatistaForbes 2021 The Best Employers for Diversity Powered by StatistaForbes 2021: America's Best Midsize Employer Powered by Statista

Westat is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other protected status under applicable law. Notices to Employees & Applicants.