Will Your Next Car Replace You, or Just Improve Your Driving?

by Adam Felts

A story on the MIT AgeLab's Advanced Vehicle Technologies (AVT) Consortium appears in the Ojo-Yoshida report, a boutique news site that reports on technology's impacts on people and society. Below, an excerpt from the article:

"Autonomous vehicle startups have pushed the narrative that eliminating human drivers, replaced by automation, will save lives. That day might still come, but the focus of many OEMs is rapidly shifting toward a vehicle that “gets” human drivers–warts and all.  At stake is whether automakers can collaborate to gather the data necessary to design a vehicle that makes people safer drivers ...

Understanding what a driver does – not just activities such as eating, drinking, talking or looking at smartphones—but also how drivers engage with the vehicle’s automated features is information fundamental to a driver management system. These insights are vital for carmakers who are serious about designing vehicles that work better with drivers.

Bryan Reimer, a research scientist at the MIT AgeLab, is among the key architects of the Advanced Vehicle Technology (AVT) Consortium.

AVT was founded in 2015 to provide OEMs [manufacturers] with the high-fidelity data, enabling manufacturers to build “a human-centered [vehicle] system rather than a system that largely ignores the human’s role,” Reimer said. “Engineering teams across the industry, whether suppliers, OEMs or insurers, too often don’t have strong enough grounding to [understand] what’s really happening in the real world.”

AVT has been stockpiling data on human behavior inside vehicles. The MIT team is analyzing data, vehicle model by vehicle model.

It is often reported that consumers disable safety advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features because they don’t understand how to use them.“If you talk about overall trends in drivers’ behavior, you can make an educated guess,” said Reimer. “You are mostly correct.” But that’s not what AVT is after. The consortium is looking at basics to understand “how different design philosophies [pursued by different carmakers] are impacting drivers’ behavior.”"

Read the full story here (free registration required to read the article).

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. Currently he is involved in research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He also manages the AgeLab blog and newsletter. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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