Modelling perceived risk and trust in driving automation reacting to merging and braking vehicles

Xiaolin He*, Jork Stapel, Meng Wang, Riender Happee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Perceived risk and trust are crucial for user acceptance of driving automation. In this study, we identify important predictors of perceived risk and trust in a driving simulator experiment and develop models through stepwise regression to predict event-based changes in perceived risk and trust. 25 participants were tasked to monitor SAE Level 2 driving automation (ACC + LC) while experiencing merging and hard braking events with varying criticality on a motorway. Perceived risk and trust were rated verbally after each event, and continuous perceived risk, pupil diameter and ECG signals were explored as possible indictors for perceived risk and trust. The regression models show that relative motion with neighbouring road users accounts for most perceived risk and trust variations, and no difference was found between hard braking with merging and hard braking without merging. Drivers trust the automation more in the second exposure to events. Our models show modest effects of personal characteristics: experienced drivers are less sensitive to risk and trust the automation more, while female participants perceive more risk than males. Perceived risk and trust highly correlate and have similar determinants. Continuous perceived risk accurately reflects participants’ verbal post-event rating of perceived risk; the use of brakes is an effective indicator of high perceived risk and low trust, and pupil diameter correlates to perceived risk in the most critical events. The events increased heart rate, but we found no correlation with event criticality. The prediction models and the findings on physiological measures shed light on the event-based dynamics of perceived risk and trust and can guide human-centred automation design to reduce perceived risk and enhance trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-195
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Automated driving
  • ECG
  • Perceived risk
  • Prediction models
  • Pupil dilation
  • Trust


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