Automated driving and its effect on the safety ecosystem: how do compatibility issues affect the transition period?

Roald J. van Loon (Corresponding author), Marieke H. Martens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
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Different components of automated vehicles are being made available commercially as we speak. Much research has been conducted into these components and many of these have been studied with respect to their effects on safety, but the transition period from non-automated driving to fully automated vehicles raises safety related issues dealing with mixed traffic situations. More in-depth knowledge should be gained in (the safety of) the behaviour of drivers of unequipped vehicles, enabling automated vehicles to predict and adequately respond to potentially unsafe behaviour, a concept we call backwards compatibility. Also, automated vehicle system design tends to be from an optimal system performance perspective which leads to driving patterns such as driving in the centre of a lane. Other (human) road users however likely exhibit driving behaviour in line with different rationales which allow for suboptimal driving patterns. As of yet, it remains unclear whether these patterns contain indications about the intentions of a driver and if or how other road users anticipate these. This could have two consequences with regard to mixed traffic situations. First of all, other road users might miss important cues from the behaviour of the automated vehicle (what we call forward incompatibility). Secondly, the occupant of an automated vehicle might expect human-like behaviour from the automated vehicle in safety-critical situations, lowering acceptance if this does not meet expectations. The current paper considers these issues and states that we need more insight in how road users use other road users’ behaviour to anticipate safety critical events, especially in the transition period towards fully automated vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3280-3285
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Automated driving
  • Driver behaviour
  • Driving safety
  • Mixed traffic situations


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