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Newcastle study finds gender affects human-machine interaction in Level 3 automated vehicles

Newcastle University research has shown that women respond more quickly and exhibit more stable takeover control than men in automated cars. The open-access study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, focused on level 3 automated vehicles (L3 AVs), which allow drivers to be completely disengaged from driving and perform non-driving related activities.

However, in L3 AVs human drivers’ intervention in the control of the vehicle may still be required in some situations, such as no signal or network connections, and places without complete road signage and markings.

The driving simulator study involved 76 drivers (33 females and 43 males), who were asked to take over control from L3 AVs in different weather conditions, with researchers measuring the timing and quality of takeover.

The results show that gender significantly affects takeover performance. Compared to men, women exhibited a smaller percentage of hasty takeovers and slightly faster reaction times as well as slightly more stable operation of the steering wheel.


3D scatterplots of time aspects of takeover and takeover quality for female and male drivers. Li et al.

Our research strengthens the importance of tackling inequality in the context of future mobility. To create user-friendly automated vehicles, the manufacturers and designers need to adopt inclusive practices which fully consider the needs, requirements, performance, and preferences of end-users from different demographic groups.

The next step, follow-up research is planned to explore gender differences in the needs and requirements associated with non-driving related tasks in Level 3 automated vehicles and investigate the effect of performing these tasks on end-users’ behavior and performance.

— Dr Shuo Li, lead author

The results also highlight that more hands-on experience and teaching sessions could be provided to deepen the understanding of L3 AVs particularly at the point when the driver is required to retake manual control of the vehicle.

The researchers argue that design of the car interiors of L3 AVs should also take into account gender differences in the preferences of users for different non-driving related tasks, however the overriding requirement is to keep the required user interface and take-over tasks as simple as possible with a standard way of doing this irrespective of vehicle model.


  • Li, S., Blythe, P., Zhang, Y. et al. “Analysing the effect of gender on the human–machine interaction in level 3 automated vehicles.” Sci Rep 12, 11645 doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-16045-1



Maybe the men should get women to drive their autonomous cars for them.
Also, note that this was in a simulator, and so does not match reality.
Did people have phones and make up kits with them in the sims?

Aside from this, it is a serious issue - allowing people to benefit from level 3 cars while still being able to take over in an emergency.
Not an easy problem.


Both are still awful at resuming instant control, and the more automated the system and the less engaged the driver is the worse the problems on handover.

Umpteen studies show it is asking the humanly impossible.

Nothing short of Level 4 should be allowed on the roads.


@dave, I suppose it depends on what type of "take over" you are expecting.
If it is a sudden emergency, like someone walks out in front of the car, it should react automatically.
If is a longer term situation, like a stop-start construction zone or traffic jam or whatever, then as long as the system stops safely, it does not matter exactly how rapidly the human driver can take over.

However, what you want is a car that can drive you while you are asleep or intoxicated, so that would have to be levels 4 or 5.



That's level 4 - not requiring anyone to grab the wheel.
It has to be able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, and then if the driver wants to take control, maybe in a snowstorm or where there are road works or something and the automated system can't figure out what is going on, then the driver starts again, under human control.

No grabbing the wheel when the fake automation can't cope.

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