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Researchers to Study Human Drivers’ Role in Automated Vehicles

By Sherry DiBari

The Batten College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Research Seed Grant was awarded to an interdisciplinary team who will develop a networked driving simulation platform. They plan to study drivers' responses to safety-critical events, such as merging into highways and conflicts at intersections in vehicles with different levels of automation.

The project team includes Kun Xie, assistant professor in Old Dominion University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sherif Ishak, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hong Yang, associate professor in the Department of Computational Modeling & Simulation Engineering and Yusuke Yamani, associate professor in the Department of Psychology.

"From the results, we can answer some important questions, such as how drivers take evasive actions in automated vehicles to avoid collisions, how are these actions related with drivers' characteristic such as age and gender, and how to better design automated vehicles to consider drivers' actions," Xie said.

He points to World Health Organization statistics that show road traffic crashes result in approximately 1.35 million deaths and up to 50 million injuries each year globally.

"This project will lead to a systematic understanding of human drivers' role in automated vehicles and can facilitate the development of driving assistance systems to prevent crashes," Xie said.

The grant, which comes with a $25,000 award, will allow the team to research the subject for up to one year.

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