Ergonomic Issues on Entering the Automated Highway System
James R. Buck Anil Yenamendra University of Iowa
Many people regard Automated Highway Systems (AHS) with the same credulity as James Hilton ( 1933)Shangri-La. Others believe it is a system that will appear soon. The realization of AHS lies somewhere between these extremes and depends on solving technical, economic, and political problems. This chapter is only about some of the technical ergonomic problems and some possible solutions.
Other related dimensions where the beliefs of people differ widely is about the configuration and operating procedure of a future AHS. Some view AHS as an expressway system purely dedicated to automated vehicles ( Varaiya, 1993). Others, at the opposite extreme, see AHS occurring on existing highway systems with minimum alterations, at least one lane for automated cars and manually controlled cars in the other lanes. Other opinions differ with regard to having a strong central AHS control in contrast to a modest central authority and strong local control by and between automated vehicles. Some of this diversity was indicated by Alicandri and Moyer ( 1992); Hedrick, Tomizuka, and Varaiya ( 1994); Fenton ( 1994); and Shladover, Desoer, et al. ( 1991). Such was the case when the authors first attempted to identify ergonomic issues about the illusive and visionary AHS in the United States. Clearly, those issues depend on both the system configuration and modes of operation, but those dependencies are fuzzy at best. Accordingly, the development of this study was exploratory from both an ergonomics and a systems point of view and the first actual AHS seen may differ substantially from the one described later. Nevertheless, the outcome of the study provided a surprise, even to the authors.