The influence of cruise control and adaptive cruise control on driving behaviour--a driving simulator study.

Research paper by Markvollrath, Susanne S Schleicher, Christhard C Gelau

Indexed on: 08 Mar '11Published on: 08 Mar '11Published in: Accident Analysis & Prevention


Although Cruise Control (CC) is available for most cars, no studies have been found which examine how this automation system influences driving behaviour. However, a relatively large number of studies have examined Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which compared to CC includes also a distance control. Besides positive effects with regard to a better compliance to speed limits, there are also indications of smaller distances to lead vehicles and slower responses in situations that require immediate braking. Similar effects can be expected for CC as this system takes over longitudinal control as well. To test this hypothesis, a simulator study was conducted at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Twenty-two participants drove different routes (highway and motorway) under three different conditions (assisted by ACC, CC and manual driving without any system). Different driving scenarios were examined including a secondary task condition. On the one hand, both systems lead to lower maximum velocities and less speed limit violations. There was no indication that drivers shift more of their attention towards secondary tasks when driving with CC or ACC. However, there were delayed driver reactions in critical situations, e.g., in a narrow curve or a fog bank. These results give rise to some caution regarding the safety effects of these systems, especially if in the future their range of functionality (e.g., ACC Stop-and-Go) is further increased.