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The co-driver: A neglected passenger – Development and evaluation of a co-driver assistance system

Sandra Ittner, Dominik Mühlbacher, Thomas Weisswange, Mark Vollrath, Alexandra Neukum, "The co-driver: A neglected passenger – Development and evaluation of a co-driver assistance system", 10. VDI-Tagung Mensch-Maschine-Mobilität 2019, 2019.


Even today, the front seat co-driver is a neglected passenger in the car. There are only a few to no assistance systems, which show information or the driver’s cognitive state to the co-driver. Results of preliminary investigations indicate that the current passive role of the co-driver, probably caused by missing information and missing control, can lead to a feeling of discomfort. Furthermore, it could be showed that this feeling of discomfort occurs frequently during high velocities and when driving up very close. In the following study it will be investigated which factors can influence the experience of the co-driver in a positive way. Therefore, theories and studies of the areas automated driving, decision making, regulation of dynamic systems and coping with stress were investigated. In this simulator study with 40 participants, different types of co-driver assistance systems will be investigated regarding their influence on the discomfort of the co-driver. The co-driver assistance system presents different types of information about the driver’s cognitive state regarding the situation to the co-driver or offers the possibility to the co-driver to intervene during driving. The participants experience different car following and braking scenarios on the autobahn with different time headways (THW) in one part with co-driver assistance system and in one part without a co-driver assistance system. These two parts are presented in a permutated order. The construct discomfort will be measured in an objective way via electrodermal activity in braking scenarios or via heart rate in car following scenarios. Additionally, the discomfort of the co-driver will be measured in a subjective way via ratings after each experienced car following and braking scenario and via open questions in a post-inquiry. Selected results will be presented and discussed regarding the possibilities of a co-driver assistance system and the transfer of the results to the area of automated driving.

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