Study: Driver aids can make you miss things. Like giant pink teddy bears that rush past
Ah, to be a scientist. Saying intense, science-based things like “The giant teddy bear in the back of the vehicle helps us give us an objective measure of driver concentration that is relevant to driving and does not interfere with driving.” how this person drives normally ”.
The giant pink teddy bear, to be precise. In the high visibility vest.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), one of the two major road safety laboratories in the United States, is behind the test on the stuffed animals. The Institute’s latest driver safety study involves a control group and motion-sensing cameras that track divers’ eyes. But the key to the system is the Nameless Bear.
Driving assistance Attention deficit studied
The study assesses whether drivers tend to divert their attention from the road when using driver assistance systems. The study designers used a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C300 equipped with a Level 2 driver assistance system for their study. Level 2 performs key tasks such as lane centering, acceleration and braking to keep the pace of the car ahead. But, crucially, it still requires drivers to give their full attention to the road. They must be ready to take over at any time to avoid an accident.
The study authors classified 31 drivers into three groups: those who drove regularly with level 2 assistance systems and who would drive with them engaged for the test, those who had little or no experience with driving aids and would drive with them hired for the test. , and a control group of people with little or no experience with Level 2 automation who would drive without the system engaged.
They then asked each driver to drive the Mercedes for an hour. On three occasions during their journey, a vehicle with a giant pink teddy bear in a hi-vis jacket attached to the back passed by the test car, making sure to stay in sight for at least 30 seconds . Cameras inside the test car tracked drivers’ eyes to see if they noticed the bear.
In case the cameras missed anything, drivers were also asked after their ride if they noticed anything unusual.
New less attentive level 2 drivers
An interesting trend emerged from the data. The IIHS explains, “More than twice as many inexperienced Level 2 automation users driving with the system turned on do not remember the bear at all compared to other groups. Almost every frequent Level 2 automation user who had turned on the vehicle’s system noticed the bear. They were also more likely than other groups to correctly recall the number of times he appeared on the ride.
The finding suggests that drivers new to automated assistance might rely too much on it. The study suggests that “inexperienced drivers may have a harder time keeping up with what is happening around them when using unknown technology than when driving without it.”
The result is slightly contrary to other research, which has often shown that drivers become more complacent the more they rely on assist functions.