Distributed Situation Awareness and Vehicle Automation

Case Study Analysis and Design Implications

Authored by: Paul M. Salmon , Neville A. Stanton , Guy H. Walker

Handbook of Human Factors for Automated, Connected, and Intelligent Vehicles

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138035027
eBook ISBN: 9781315269689
Adobe ISBN:


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Situation awareness is an important consideration in the design of automated vehicles and the road systems in which they will operate. Given the advanced technologies at hand, considering the situation awareness requirements of both human and non-human agents is critical, as well as how they communicate with one another in different road environments. Despite its noted contribution to safety in many areas, the concept of situation awareness remains contentious, and there is a heavy debate regarding which models and methods are the most appropriate for analysis and design in different contexts. This chapter argues that the distributed situation awareness model is the most useful approach when considering the design and analysis of automated vehicle systems, primarily because it considers the situation awareness needs of both human and non-agents as well as the required interactions between them. To demonstrate the approach, we present an overview of the distributed situation awareness model and an analysis of the recent Uber–Volvo fatal collision in Tempe, Arizona. We close with a series of implications and critical design considerations for automated vehicles.

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