July 13, 2024
Driverless cars 'pose a significant safety risk because complacent humans are too busy on their phones, reading or SLEEPING to take over in an emergency', trial suggests
Tests showed that drivers were less prepared to re-take control in an emergency
Tests showed that drivers were less prepared to re-take control in an emergency

Using a driverless car may make you less competent behind the wheel and ill-prepared to take over the wheel in an emergency, new research suggests.

A study was carried out at the University of Nottingham earlier this year into ‘conditional automation’ cars capable of self-driving on motorways and in traffic jams, which are expected to be available on the UK market in the next few years.

The research involved 49 drivers of different ages and genders driving a simulator for half an hour every day for five days.

Participants began by driving manually but when the simulation reached a stretch of dual carriageway they were given the chance to hand over control to the car itself.

After around 20 minutes, they were told they needed to manually drive the car again and would get a 60-second ‘prepare to drive’ notification.

Researchers Gary Burnett, David Large and Davide Salanitri found that the driving after the participants took back control of the car was poor, swerving across lanes and varying their speed during the 10 seconds following the handover.

On the first day of the study, drivers went off course by an average of two metres.

The researchers added that, while the driving performance improved throughout the week, the drivers became more complacent.

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