Dr. Anuj K. Pradhan is an Assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, where he co-directs the Human Performance Laboratory. Dr. Pradhan conducts Human Factors research examining the impact of vehicle automation on driver behavior and the role of education and training to improve the perception, adoption, and use of vehicle technologies. Dr. Pradhan has published extensively in the field of driver safety and serves on various scientific committees related to driver safety research.
How does your work align with the mission of PAVE to educate the public on AV technology and its promise?
My current research is focused on examining how drivers form and evolve mental models of complex vehicle technologies. This is relevant to understanding how drivers perceive and use vehicle automation systems. Knowing how drivers think about automation will provide opportunities to design education and training to ensure appropriate and safe use of such technologies. Accordingly, we are currently studying training methods, content, and platforms to best educate drivers about vehicle automation.
What are the current barriers you see in public acceptance of automated vehicles?
There is much complexity in the various types of automation, capabilities, naming conventions, availabilities, and deployment. This is doing a disservice to the public who may conflate ADAS with ADS or have inflated expectations of these systems. Even within just the ADAS space, where advanced technology is readily available to consumers, there is poor understanding of the capabilities and limitations of these systems. The lack of information (and opportunities to learn) about these systems contribute to either mistrust and suspicion, or over-trust and overreliance. This may be one of the leading barriers to public acceptance of automated vehicles.