Research Lead: Scott Hardman
UC Campus(es): UC Davis
Problem Statement: Current research on vehicle automation is primarily focused on fully automated vehicles, however partially-automated vehicles are already available on the market. These vehicles change the utility of driving (e.g., reduced driver fatigue, increased ability to multitask) and in turn have the potential to change travel patterns and increases vehicle miles travelled (VMT). These changes may have negative consequences for road networks and the environment.
Project Description: This project is one of the first to investigate the impact partially-automated vehicles are having on travel behavior. Researchers at UC Davis conducted in-depth interviews with 36 Tesla owners who have and use the Autopilot feature. Results from the interviews show that partial automation leads to consumers travelling by car more and that they are more willing to drive in congested traffic. These changes are due to increased comfort, reduced stress, and increased relaxation due to the partial automation system, and due to the lower running costs of a battery electric vehicle.