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Should older people be considered a homogeneous group when interacting with level 3 automated vehicles?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Shuo LiORCiD, Professor Phil BlytheORCiD, Dr Yanghanzi ZhangORCiD, Simon Edwards, Dr Jin XingORCiD, Wenrui Guo, Dr Yanjie Ji, Dr Paul Goodman, Professor Anil Namdeo



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Exploring the future mobility of older people is imperative for maintaining wellbeing and quality of life in an ageing society. The forthcoming level 3 automated vehicle may potentially benefit older people. In a level 3 automated vehicle, the driver can be completely disengaged from driving while, under some circumstances, being expected to take over the control occasionally. Existing research into older people and level 3 automated vehicles considers older people to be a homogeneous group, but it is not clear if different subgroups of old people have different performance and perceptions when interacting with automated vehicles. To fill this research gap, a driving simulator investigation was conducted. We adopted a between-subjects experimental design with subgroup of old age as the independent variable. The differences in performance, behaviour, and perception towards level 3 automated vehicles between the younger old group (60–69 years old) and older old group (70 years old and over) was investigated. 15 subjects from the younger old group (mean age = 64.87 years, SD = 3.46 years) and 24 from the older old group (mean age = 75.13 years, SD = 3.35 years) participated in the study. The findings indicate that older people should not be regarded as a homogeneous group when interacting with automated vehicle. Compared to the younger old people, the older old people took over the control of the vehicle more slowly, and their takeover was less stable and more critical. However, both groups exhibited positive perceptions towards level 3 automation, and the of older old people’s perceptions were significantly more positive. This study demonstrated the importance of recognising older people as a heterogeneous group in terms of their performance, capabilities, needs and requirements when interacting with automated vehicles. This may have implications in the design of such systems and also understanding the market for autonomous mobility.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li S, Blythe P, Zhang Y, Edwards S, Xing J, Guo W, Ji Y, Goodman P, Namdeo A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour

Year: 2021

Volume: 78

Pages: 446-465

Print publication date: 01/04/2021

Online publication date: 31/03/2021

Acceptance date: 08/03/2021

Date deposited: 31/03/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1369-8478

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2021.03.004


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