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User evaluation of passenger assistance system concepts on public highways

Sandra Ittner, Dominik Mühlbacher, Alexandra Neukum, Thomas Weisswange, "User evaluation of passenger assistance system concepts on public highways", Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 725808, 2021.


There is ample research on assistance systems for drivers in conventional and automated vehicles. In the past, those systems were primarily developed to increase safety. Since many common risks have by now been mitigated through such systems, the research and development focus was extended to also include comfort-related assistance systems. However, in this work, the passenger has rarely been taken into account explicitly, although it has been shown that passenger discomfort is a relevant problem. Therefore, this work investigated the potential of passenger assistance systems to reduce such discomfort. Three different passenger assistant system prototypes were tested in a driving study on public highway with N = 19 participants. The systems provided information about parameters that influence the performance of the driver and one also provided a communicative means of influence. For all passenger assistant systems it could be shown that they significantly reduced passenger discomfort in at least a subset of the evaluated situations. The majority of participants rated one or multiple of the assistant systems as more comfortable than a ride without assistance. The co-driver assistant system providing information about the attentiveness of the driver was most effective in reducing discomfort and was rated as the most helpful system. The results show that relatively simple designs can positively impact the comfort of the passenger. This can be achieved, for example, by making information from systems that were previously only intended for the driver available to the passenger as well.

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