Behavioral adaptation of drivers when driving among automated vehicles
This paper aims to explore whether drivers would adapt their behavior when they drive among automated vehicles (AVs) compared to driving among manually driven vehicles (MVs).Understanding behavioral adaptation of drivers when they encounter AVs is crucial for assessing impacts of AVs in mixed-traffic situations. Here, mixed-traffic situations refer to situations where AVs share the roads with existing nonautomated vehicles such as conventional MVs.
A driving simulator study is designed to explore whether such behavioral adaptations exist. Two different driving scenarios were explored on a three-lane highway: driving on the main highway and merging from an on-ramp. For this study, 18 research participants were recruited.
Behavioral adaptation can be observed in terms of car-following speed, car-following time gap, number of lane change and overall driving speed. The adaptations are dependent on the driving scenario and whether the surrounding traffic was AVs or MVs. Although significant differences in behavior were found in more than 90% of the research participants, they adapted their behavior differently, and thus, magnitude of the behavioral adaptation remains unclear.
The observed behavioral adaptations in this paper were dependent on the driving scenario rather than the time gap between surrounding vehicles. This finding differs from previous studies, which have shown that drivers tend to adapt their behaviors with respect to the surrounding vehicles. Furthermore, the surrounding vehicles in this study are more “free flow'” compared to previous studies with a fixed formation such as platoons. Nevertheless, long-term observations are required to further support this claim.