The Long Road Ahead Seminar 1

Challenges in Designing and Deploying Automated and Autonomous Vehicles: The Human Factor

Image Caption: our future with self-driving cars, according to MidJourney AI

Image Credit: Max Cappuccio and MidJourney


It is predicted that automated vehicles, especially those that automate all human driving tasks, all of the time, in all traffic conditions, will improve road safety and provide a range of other societal benefits. However, there are many significant human, technical, social and other challenges associated with the transition from manually-driven to self-driving vehicles. The presentation will introduce attendees to the world of automated and connected road vehicles. Issues to be discussed include the definition of automated vehicles; reasons for automating vehicles; levels of vehicle automation; automation and the changing role of the human driver; the potential benefits of automation; what’s out there at the moment in the way of automated vehicles; and connectivity between vehicles and other road transport system elements (e.g. vehicles, infrastructure, internet of things) to augment automation. The primary focus of the presentation will be on human factors and ergonomic challenges relevant to successful deployment and commercialisation of vehicles with increasing levels of automation. These include issues of trust, misuse and abuse, sharing of control, skill loss, workload, among others. Some other challenges to be faced in the deployment and commercialisation of highly and fully automated vehicles are also discussed.  

The Long Road Ahead Seminar Series - Self-driving vehicles will bring capillary and irreversible transformations into the worlds of transportation, logistics and urban design. However, it is now clear that the development of this AI-based technology constitutes a long-term complex challenge: despite some impressive technological achievements and the boastful announcements often made by makers and entrepreneurs, autonomous vehicles are not roaming our roads yet and it is still unclear when they will eventually be mature enough to operate in ‘full’ or ‘semi’ autonomous mode. What is still needed to make this innovation real? What are the problems faced by developers and makers, and do these problems have a communal root? We will tackle these questions with the help of authoritative experts from academia, private sector, and public administration. Our seminar aims to identify and investigate with an integrative and interdisciplinary approach the fundamental problems faced by the sector.

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Meet the speaker:

Professor Michael (Mike) Regan

Professor Michael Regan

Professor Michael (Mike) Regan is an Emeritus Professor with the University of NSW Sydney Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (rCITI). His current research interests include driver distraction and inattention, driver interaction with automated vehicles and human factors in road design and traffic engineering. Mike has authored and co-authored around 250 peer-reviewed publications, including 4 books. He was the 25th President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia. In 2019, Mike was awarded Fellowship of the Australasian College of Road Safety for “His outstanding contribution to research, education and policy in transport human factors and road safety”.