Marieke H. Martens

Automated Driving & Human Interaction, prof.dr.

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Personal profile


Seamless human-centered automation is what is needed. The real challenge is not only to increase the reliability of automated vehicles, but to design them in such a way that they will add value to humans beings and society.  

Research profile

Marieke Martens is a full professor ‘Automated Vehicles & Human Interaction’ at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Marieke is primarily interested in research related to human behavior and automated driving, an innovation that is primarily technology driven and has far from reached the desired level of readiness to be safely introduced on a large scale on public roads for the general public. Interestingly, where human error has often been named one of the key drivers of developing automated driving, current challenges of automated driving are more and more related to the human factor. After all, we are developing this to serve humans and to bring people and their preferred goods in a safe and comfortable manner from A to B. Some examples of the questions that arise are: Do users still understand their vehicle? What does the vehicle need to explain to the passenger inside about its next action? How do we need to design a transparent transition from automated driving back to the human who has been out-of-the loop? Do other road users still know how to interact with automated vehicles if human communication with the driver inside is no longer valid? And will society as a whole accept automated vehicles if not all accidents can be ruled out?. The interesting element here is that we can form and shape this transition and development by taking Human Factors and Industrial Design expertise into account in the development of these vehicles, ensuring the usability, adaptivity and safety of these systems. Systems need to be safe and comfortable to use and need to naturally blend into our current traffic system, including vulnerable road users. This links the department of Industrial Design with the Strategic Area Smart Mobility within Eindhoven University of Technology.

Academic background

Marieke studied Experimental and Cognitive Psychology at the Free University of Amsterdam. Since 1996 she has been working as a research in the area of human factors and traffic behavior at TNO, covering a variety of topics such as self-explaining roads, traffic safety, driver state, distraction, visual attention, road user behavior, driver support, smart mobility and automated vehicles. She received her PhD in 2007 from the Free University of Amsterdam entitled: ‘The failure to act upon important information: Where do things go wrong?’. From 2015 until 2019 she has been a professor ITS & Human Factors at the University of Twente, and since June 2019 she was appointed full professor Automated Vehicles and Human Interaction. She is also Director of Science of the TNO Unit Traffic & Transport. She is part of different ISO committee meetings focusing on human behavior, she is member of the Scientific Advisory Board of SWOV, part of the EU expert group on Ethics of automated mobility and part of different advisory boards and editorial boards.

Education and Teaching

Research focus, project topics I’d like to coach:
“I am the person to go to when you want to do a project about Automated Vehicles (AV), and specifically about the interaction of people with the AV. This can be people in, or outside the vehicle who interact with the system, being the topic of my university chair. This topic is currently not accommodated by one of the squads.

I have a background in psychology and behavioral science; topics like workload, road safety, distraction. I do not have a background in industrial design, but I am focused on the research aspects and the experimental side of a project. I can coach on statistics, research methodology. With regard to my MDC expertise: I can help you with data collection and use of data in research, but cannot help you with complex mathematical problems,

I am interested in coaching projects related to Automated Vehicles in the field of trust, transition of control, distraction, understandability, adaptive HMI’s, etc. Or outside the vehicle:  interaction of other road users (pedestrians, manually driven vehicles) with the AV; or external HMI for everyone outside the vehicle. “

What is your vision coaching?

“I would like students to become critical thinkers. I will try to challenge their ideas from the start: is it true what you have read? Have you researched how things really are? Do your ideas correspond to what is going on in the outside world? I try to give students the context of how things are really happening in the outside world: which research is currently going on, is their research topic relevant and does it fit or complement with what is already being done.

I will try to give them a reality check: what is my unique contribution to ongoing research, what research has already been done, is the problem I identified a valid one? In this way they can set up a fact- and evidence-based research, and prove what their design or project can contribute to the world.”

“I have a large, international network all over the world: Japan, Australia, Europe, and The United States, both in universities and automotive OEMs. If students want me as their FMP mentor, they should know what they are dealing with, they should be truly interested in the topic and willing to invest in the matter. If they are willing to do that, I can connect them with the right people. The human aspect of AV has already been studied, but the design part is relatively new. Many companies are interested in learning more. I see many opportunities there.”


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure


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