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Effects of an unexpected and expected event on older adults’ autonomic arousal and eye fixations during autonomous driving

Stephenson, Alice C.; Eimontaite, Iveta; Caleb-Solly, Praminda; Morgan, Phillip L.; Khatun, Tabasum; Davis, Joseph; Alford, Chris

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Authors

Alice C. Stephenson

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Praminda Caleb-Solly Praminda.Caleb-solly@uwe.ac.uk
Professor in Assistive Robotics and Intelligent Health Technologies

Phillip L. Morgan

Tabasum Khatun

Joseph Davis



Abstract

© Copyright © 2020 Stephenson, Eimontaite, Caleb-Solly, Morgan, Khatun, Davis and Alford. Driving cessation for some older adults can exacerbate physical, cognitive, and mental health challenges due to loss of independence and social isolation. Fully autonomous vehicles may offer an alternative transport solution, increasing social contact and encouraging independence. However, there are gaps in understanding the impact of older adults’ passive role on safe human–vehicle interaction, and on their well-being. 37 older adults (mean age ± SD = 68.35 ± 8.49 years) participated in an experiment where they experienced fully autonomous journeys consisting of a distinct stop (an unexpected event versus an expected event). The autonomous behavior of the vehicle was achieved using the Wizard of Oz approach. Subjective ratings of trust and reliability, and driver state monitoring including visual attention strategies (fixation duration and count) and physiological arousal (skin conductance and heart rate), were captured during the journeys. Results revealed that subjective trust and reliability ratings were high after journeys for both types of events. During an unexpected stop, overt visual attention was allocated toward the event, whereas during an expected stop, visual attention was directed toward the human–machine interface (HMI) and distributed across the central and peripheral driving environment. Elevated skin conductance level reflecting increased arousal persisted only after the unexpected event. These results suggest that safety-critical events occurring during passive fully automated driving may narrow visual attention and elevate arousal mechanisms. To improve in-vehicle user experience for older adults, a driver state monitoring system could examine such psychophysiological indices to evaluate functional state and well-being. This information could then be used to make informed decisions on vehicle behavior and offer reassurance during elevated arousal during unexpected events.

Citation

Stephenson, A. C., Eimontaite, I., Caleb-Solly, P., Morgan, P. L., Khatun, T., Davis, J., & Alford, C. (2020). Effects of an unexpected and expected event on older adults’ autonomic arousal and eye fixations during autonomous driving. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.571961

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 26, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 18, 2020
Publication Date Sep 18, 2020
Deposit Date Oct 29, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 6, 2020
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Article Number 571961
DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.571961
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/6822636

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