Redesigning Today’s Driving Automation Toward Adaptive Backup Control With Context-Based and Invisible Interfaces

Christopher D.D. Cabrall*, Jork C.J. Stapel, Riender Happee, Joost C.F. de Winter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: We investigated a driver monitoring system (DMS) designed to adaptively back up distracted drivers with automated driving. Background: Humans are likely inadequate for supervising today’s on-road driving automation. Conversely, backup concepts can use eye-tracker DMS to retain the human as the primary driver and use computerized control only if needed. A distraction DMS where perceived false alarms are minimized and the status of the backup is unannounced might reduce problems of distrust and overreliance, respectively. Experimental research is needed to assess the viability of such designs. Methods: In a driving simulator, 91 participants either supervised driving automation (auto-hand-on-wheel vs. auto-hands-off-wheel), drove with different forms of DMS-induced backup control (eyes-only-backup vs. eyes-plus-context-backup; visible-backup vs. invisible-backup), or drove without any automation. All participants performed a visual N-back task throughout. Results: Supervised driving automation increased visual distraction and hazard non-responses compared to backup and conventional driving. Auto-hand-on-wheel improved response generation compared to auto-hands-off-wheel. Across entire driving trials, the backup improved lateral performance compared to conventional driving. Without negatively impacting safety, the eyes-plus-context-backup DMS reduced unnecessary automated control compared to the eyes-only-backup DMS conditions. Eyes-only-backup produced low satisfaction ratings, whereas eyes-plus-context-backup satisfaction was on par with automated driving. There were no appreciable negative consequences attributable to the invisible-backup driving automation. Conclusions: We have demonstrated preliminary feasibility of DMS designs that incorporate driving context information for distraction assessment and suppress their status indication. Application: An appropriately designed DMS can enable benefits for automated driving as a backup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-228
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • adaptive automation
  • driver monitoring system (DMS)
  • eye-tracking
  • situated cognitive design
  • transitions of control (ToC)
  • vigilance decrement


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