Faurecia and and Stanford University’s Centre for Design Research have formed a partnership aimed at studying potential behavioural changes in an autonomous vehicle.

The organisations will share initial research findings at the Connected Car Expo on 17 November, during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Faurecia and Stanford have identified several challenges the industry must address to mitigate consumer apprehension to new driving modes, such as creating a confident occupant experience.

Stanford research data suggest increased situation awareness helps drivers of autonomous vehicles feel confidence and trust in the system.

Technologies such as Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) warnings can provide important information on what the vehicle is doing when used properly. However, drivers report they often find the use and interface of these systems complicated and sometimes turn them off, reducing their benefit.

Keeping the driver alert and ready for a transfer of control is also a critical issue which was identified. Providing information in new ways that easily attract attention and effectively increase the driver’s situation awareness must equally be explored, while safely enabling new user scenarios and mitigating motion sickness are also key.

Dr. David Sirkin of the Stanford Centre for Design Research and Matthew Benson of Faurecia’s xWorks innovation centre, will present their findings: “When Driving Becomes the Distraction: Putting the Occupant Back in the Mobility Conversation” at the Connected Car Expo on 17 November.

“As the automotive industry continues its march toward autonomous vehicles, most of its efforts have been focused on creating the technology that will enable auto-pilot functionality,” said Faurecia VP innovation, Rob Huber.

“While this is an essential foundation, Faurecia is prioritising a parallel development track focused on how we enhance the mobility experience by improving life-on-board, making comfort, customisation and connectivity a priority.”

For his part, Sirkin added: “In partnering with Faurecia, we are taking the industry’s first steps toward anticipating and averting problems that autonomous-car drivers may encounter in their transition from active controllers to multi-tasking occupants of vehicles,

“While the industry often considers the new technologies required to keep autonomous cars safely on course, these physiological issues will require their own approaches to vehicle design and engineering.”