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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 6 September 2021

Yujie Li, Tiantian Chen, Sikai Chen and Samuel Labi

The anticipated benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) include safety and mobility enhancement. Small headways between successive vehicles, on one hand, can cause…

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Abstract

Purpose

The anticipated benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) include safety and mobility enhancement. Small headways between successive vehicles, on one hand, can cause increased capacity and throughput and thereby improve overall mobility. On the other hand, small headways can cause vehicle occupant discomfort and unsafety. Therefore, in a CAV environment, it is important to determine appropriate headways that offer a good balance between mobility and user safety/comfort.

Design/methodology/approach

In addressing this research question, this study carried out a pilot experiment using a driving simulator equipped with a Level-3 automated driving system, to measure the threshold headways. The Method of Constant Stimuli (MCS) procedure was modified to enable the estimation of two comfort thresholds. The participants (drivers) were placed in three categories (“Cautious,” “Neutral” and “Confident”) and 250 driving tests were carried out for each category. Probit analysis was then used to estimate the threshold headways that differentiate drivers' discomfort and their intention to re-engage the driving tasks.

Findings

The results indicate that “Cautious” drivers tend to be more sensitive to the decrease in headways, and therefore exhibit greater propensity to deactivate the automated driving mode under a longer headway relative to other driver groups. Also, there seems to exist no driver discomfort when the CAV maintains headway up to 5%–9% shorter than the headways they typically adopt. Further reduction in headways tends to cause discomfort to drivers and trigger take over control maneuver.

Research limitations/implications

In future studies, the number of observations could be increased further.

Practical implications

The study findings can help guide specification of user-friendly headways specified in the algorithms used for CAV control, by vehicle manufacturers and technology companies. By measuring and learning from a human driver's perception, AV manufacturers can produce personalized AVs to suit the user's preferences regarding headway. Also, the identified headway thresholds could be applied by practitioners and researchers to update highway lane capacities and passenger-car-equivalents in the autonomous mobility era.

Originality/value

The study represents a pioneering effort and preliminary pilot driving simulator experiment to assess the tradeoffs between comfortable headways versus mobility-enhancing headways in an automated driving environment.

Details

Frontiers in Engineering and Built Environment, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2634-2499

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 13 July 2022

Jiqian Dong, Sikai Chen, Mohammad Miralinaghi, Tiantian Chen and Samuel Labi

Perception has been identified as the main cause underlying most autonomous vehicle related accidents. As the key technology in perception, deep learning (DL) based computer…

Abstract

Purpose

Perception has been identified as the main cause underlying most autonomous vehicle related accidents. As the key technology in perception, deep learning (DL) based computer vision models are generally considered to be black boxes due to poor interpretability. These have exacerbated user distrust and further forestalled their widespread deployment in practical usage. This paper aims to develop explainable DL models for autonomous driving by jointly predicting potential driving actions with corresponding explanations. The explainable DL models can not only boost user trust in autonomy but also serve as a diagnostic approach to identify any model deficiencies or limitations during the system development phase.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper proposes an explainable end-to-end autonomous driving system based on “Transformer,” a state-of-the-art self-attention (SA) based model. The model maps visual features from images collected by onboard cameras to guide potential driving actions with corresponding explanations, and aims to achieve soft attention over the image’s global features.

Findings

The results demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed model as it exhibits superior performance (in terms of correct prediction of actions and explanations) compared to the benchmark model by a significant margin with much lower computational cost on a public data set (BDD-OIA). From the ablation studies, the proposed SA module also outperforms other attention mechanisms in feature fusion and can generate meaningful representations for downstream prediction.

Originality/value

In the contexts of situational awareness and driver assistance, the proposed model can perform as a driving alarm system for both human-driven vehicles and autonomous vehicles because it is capable of quickly understanding/characterizing the environment and identifying any infeasible driving actions. In addition, the extra explanation head of the proposed model provides an extra channel for sanity checks to guarantee that the model learns the ideal causal relationships. This provision is critical in the development of autonomous systems.

Details

Journal of Intelligent and Connected Vehicles, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2399-9802

Keywords

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