20 Jun 2024

Driving the debate

The role of the driver has come under the spotlight as the use of automated vehicles increases and changes expectations around driving. Joseph Giacomin, Professor of Human-Centred Design at London’s Brunel University, examined the range of activities performed by drivers, which extend beyond just controlling a car. And he raised the question of what an automated vehicle needs to do when it takes over from a driver or replaces them.

Writing on the website Automotive News, he pointed to studies involving buses which highlighted the driver’s role as “a point of contact for passengers and as an authority figure who supervises operations”. He said: “Fully autonomous buses risk leaving their passengers feeling uncertain about their trip and potentially feeling unsafe due to the lack of an authoritative human presence.”

The article added: “It is currently becoming clearer to everyone that the safe and comfortable operation of autonomous buses requires more than just good driving. A list does seem to be emerging of the things that a human bus driver does. But there is still much to understand, much to document and much to express in the form of specifications.”

Read the full article.