Exciting results about the interaction between driver and automated driving

How easy is it to take control when the car asks for it? This is one of the issues that Mikael Ljung August, from the Safety Center at Volvo Cars will address as Keynote Speaker on Testers Day 1 June.
– We have looked at that takeover and done a lot of testing, says Mikael Ljung Aust, Senior Technical Leader in Collision Prevention.

At the Safety Center within Volvo Cars, a couple of hundred employees work to crash cars both for real and virtually. A small group also deals with investigating what accidents people actually have and how to get the car to help when such situations are occurring, in such a way that you both manage and at the same time appreciate what the car does. Mikael Ljung Aust works there.

– The area is called Human Factors research and in our case is about how the interaction between driver and car works. In recent years, we have spent a lot of time learning about the interaction with automated driving.

He says that lately there has been a lot of testing on AstaZero, with exciting results that he will present. One issue that has been looked at is how easy it is to take control at speed when the car asks for it.

­– It is a while until we have self-driving vehicles that drive from door to door. In the first editions, it means that you drive manually up to a certain stretch of road where you can switch on the self-driving function, and then you must take back control a little later when you reach the limit for the area where the function can be active. We have looked at the control transfers.

It can also be a situation where an unplanned takeover must take place due to, for example, an accident occurring further down the road.

Another issue is whether there is a difference between being a driver or a passenger if you are in the driver’s seat. If people are going to pay for a self-driving function, they must see some benefit from it, otherwise they will not pay.

– Our sales argument is that if you have this self-driving function, you can do a little what you want with the time you get in the car, but if that argument is to work, people must dare to trust the car.

Today, there are two development areas for self-driving vehicles, one that goes more towards the taxi rank and test drives in an urban environment.

– We are more in the private car direction with a focus on commuter traffic at low speeds and with queues, we see this as a first target group, which we can later expand.

Mikael Ljung Aust thinks that it is both easier and more difficult than he thought to develop and test self-driving vehicles. Some parts that were thought to be very difficult turned out to be completely uncontroversial, other things much more difficult than expected.

– A lot is about how you think the car will be perceived by customers and how the car reacts in the event of incidents. It is a completely new situation that in fact no one has worked with before.