Deceleration Assistance Mitigated the Trade-off Between Sense of Agency and Driving Performance

Driving assistance technology has gained traction in recent years and is becoming more widely used in vehicles. However, drivers usually experience a reduced sense of agency when driving assistance is active even though automated assistance improves driving performance by reducing human error and ensuring quick reactions. The present study examined whether driving assistance can maintain human sense of agency during early deceleration in the face of collision risk, compared with manual deceleration. In the experimental task, participants decelerate their vehicle in a driving simulator to avoid collision with a vehicle that suddenly cut in front of them and decelerated. In the assisted condition, the system performed deceleration 100 ms after the cut-in. Participants were instructed to decelerate their vehicle and follow the vehicle that cut-in. This design ensured that the deceleration assistance applied a similar control to the vehicle as the drivers intended to, only faster and smoother. Participants rated their sense of agency and their driving performance. The results showed that drivers maintained their sense of agency and improved driving performance under driving assistance. The findings provided insights into designing driving assistance that can maintain drivers’ sense of agency while improving future driving performance. It is important to establish a mode of joint-control in which the system shares the intention of human drivers and provides improved execution of control.

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