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Humans may falter when taking control of self-driving cars

Image Credit: Autoliv/Volvo
Dec 6 2016

The sort-of-self-driving cars of the near future might pose a problem.

Long before we have fully autonomous cars – ones in which we can kick back and catch up on Westworld as our faithful robot delivers us safely to work – we'll live in a world of shared responsibility. Tesla Autopilot and other upcoming advanced semi-autonomous systems require the driver to stay alert, should a situation arise in which humans need to step in and take the wheel.

This handoff is something human-machine interaction designers have spent a lot of time puzzling over. Today, research published in the inaugural issue of the journal Science Robotics highlights a new bump in the road: Human drivers may not be capable of smoothly taking control of their self-driving vehicles.