The VENTURER consortium’s first trial, completed in the summer of 2016, explored how people interact with autonomous vehicle technology. The trial took place at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and on the roads at the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) campus. Using the UWE driving simulator and the BAE Systems Wildcat, VENTURER sought to further understand planned handover with drivers of varying levels of experience, in environments and at speeds typical of day to day driving in urban areas.
Planned handover is when control of a vehicle is transferred from an autonomous system to the manual driver after an auditory handover request. The request is planned rather than an unplanned emergency, representing a situation where the vehicle knows it is approaching a situation it is not capable of handling, for example approaching a section of road with multiple hazards that the vehicle might not be able to process and respond to. This reflects vehicle capability at Levels 3/4 of vehicle autonomy (SAE, 2014).
VENTURER believe that understanding the process of handover is key to informing current debates on the future configuration of autonomous driving systems. The preliminary data from the project’s first trial can help frame the specifications for autonomous driving control systems and their safe operation when there is the option for both autonomous and manual driving control. Thorough understanding of this area is crucial as this may be the situation during the initial phases of deployment of AVs onto UK roads.
To investigate this, 50 participants undertook experiments in the UWE driving simulator and/or the BAE Systems Wildcat in order to form a comparison of the handover process across multiple platforms. We believe that this research is unique in that it was the first trial to directly compare handover back to manual driving from autonomous mode across both driving simulator and road vehicle platforms during short driving scenarios with fairly frequent handover requests. The findings of the study are outlined and explored in the documents below.
Download the Trial 1 Summary Report here: VENTURER Trial 1 Planned Handover – Summary
Download the full Trial 1 Technical Report here: VENTURER Trial 1 Planned Handover – Technical Report