The University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) has secured a contract with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a project that will look at roadway interactions between human-driven and automated vehicles. The study—known as Human Interactions with Driving Automation Systems—will involve using the NADS suite of driving simulators to simulate interactions between manually-driven vehicles and vehicles that have automated features. Manually-driven vehicles will be fully human-driven with no driver-assist or automated features, while the automated vehicles may contain different degrees of human-automation control in the simulator.
“As automated driving features evolve and start to become more common, understanding how they interact with human-driven vehicles is essential to the safe implementation of these vehicles,” explains John Gaspar, PhD, director of human factors research at NADS.
To enable NADS to study these interactions, the project will focus on creating a simulator environment where multiple research participants can interact in the same virtual world. Two of the NADS driving simulators will be connected in the same virtual environment to allow these mixed-traffic interactions to occur. Chris Schwarz, PhD, director of simulation and modeling at NADS, adds that, “This unique connected simulation capability will allow us to collect data from multiple research participants simultaneously.”