In recent years, a variety of driver support and information management systems have been designed and implemented with the objective of improving safety as well as the performance of vehicles. While the crucial issues at a technical level have been mostly solved, their consequences on driver activity remains open and needs to be fully explained. Of particular importance are their effects on driver behaviour and strategies, and their impact on the operation and safety of the traffic system. The aim of the proposed project is to develop and validate a unified model of driver behaviour and driver interaction with innovative technologies in emergency situations. This model will be applicable to and validated for all the surface transport modes. Drivers’ age, gender, education and experience and culture are factors that will be considered together with influences from the environment and the vehicle. A unified model of driver behaviour will be of great use when designing innovative technologies since it will allow for assessment and tuning of the systems in a safe and controllable environment. At the concept stage, the model could guide designers in identifying potential problem areas whilst at the prototype stage, the model could inform on the scenarios to be used in system evaluation. In this way the systems will be better adapted to the drivers before being available on the market and will provide better support to the driver in emergency situations. Along the same lines, the model could be of use for authorities as a guide in assessing and approving innovative technologies without performing extensive simulator experiments or large scale field trials. As far as the proposes are aware, there has not to date been any research taking the bold step of attempting to create a unified model of driver behaviour applicable across the modes, still less a functioning piece of software to represent that model and the validation of that software.
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