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Effects of time-gap settings of adaptive cruise control (ACC) on driving performance and subjective acceptance in a bus driving simulator

In: Saftey Science. Vol. 47, issue 5 (May 2009), p. 620-625.

Authors: Tsang-Wei Lin, Sheue-Ling Hwang, Paul A. Green.

A study was conducted to investigate the effects of time-gap settings and contents of secondary tasks on a fix-based bus driving simulator on drivers- performance while reclaiming control from ACC in a car-following scenario of emergency brake by the lead vehicle. Thirty professional bus drivers drove on the simulator with the scenario of highway traffic flow under 12 random time-gap settings: from 0.64 s to 2.40 s with the interval of 0.16 s. As for the effects of secondary tasks, subjects were evenly divided into three conditions: no secondary task interference, simple secondary task, and complex task. The results demonstrated that different safety demarcations of time-gaps on subjective acceptance and driving performance can be found out. The integrated demarcations separated time-gaps into divisions that represented different levels of danger. It revealed that the safer time-gaps for different situations were: longer than 1.60 s for none-secondary task distraction and longer than 2.08 s for being continuously distracted by secondary tasks. The demand for simple tasks is relatively high, so a larger time-gap is needed for the driver to remain safe. This research has implications for the time-gap selection of ACC and effects of secondary task distraction on buses. A next logical step will focus on determining time-gaps for lead vehicles on curves or slopes, when multiple vehicles are present ahead, and modeling driver behavior and performance with ACC for cars, buses, and other types of vehicles.

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