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Using a driverless car may make you less competent behind the wheel and ill-prepared to take over the wheel in an emergency, new research suggests.
A study was carried out at the University of Nottingham earlier this year into 'conditional automation' cars capable of self-driving on motorways and in traffic jams, which are expected to be available on the UK market in the next few years.
Research - Drivers - Ages - Genders - Simulator
The research involved 49 drivers of different ages and genders driving a simulator for half an hour every day for five days.
Participants began by driving manually but when the simulation reached a stretch of dual carriageway they were given the chance to hand over control to the car itself.
Minutes - Car - 'prepare - Notification
After around 20 minutes, they were told they needed to manually drive the car again and would get a 60-second 'prepare to drive' notification.
Researchers Gary Burnett, David Large and Davide Salanitri found that the driving after the participants took back control of the car was poor, swerving across lanes and varying their speed during the 10 seconds following the handover.
Day - Study - Drivers - Course - Average
On the first day of the study, drivers went off course by an average of two metres.
The researchers added that, while the driving performance improved throughout the week, the drivers became more complacent.
End - Week - Half - Drivers - Floor
Even at the end of the week, nearly half of drivers had to look at the floor to make sure their feet were on the right pedals when asked to take control of the car.
'A major concern is that drivers are likely to have become 'out of the loop', i.e. they have not been required to actively monitor, make decisions about or provide physical inputs to the driving task', the authors said.
'This - Perception - Comprehension - Elements - Events
'This reduces their perception and comprehension of elements and events in their environment, and their ability to project the future status of...
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