Cognitive Science professor Dr. Paul Maglio received a gift from Nissan Research to help support his lab’s studies on the relationship between human drivers and software systems that support autonomous vehicles. This research project asks critical questions about these emerging technologies, such as how self-driving cars will change transportation, particularly from the perspective of human users and their changing roles and their changing modes of transport. Part of his research agenda on technology and service systems, Dr. Maglio hopes to develop insights into effective human interaction with automated systems in specific vehicle contexts and also in broader contexts of use.

Dr. Maglio, with the help of Ph.D. student Umesh Krishnamurthy, has begun conducting experimental studies of simulated driving situations, exploring human interaction with multiple levels of automation and navigation in a driving simulator. They aim to discover principles of interaction design that encourage effective partnership between people and automated vehicles. By tracking driving performance, such as travel time or errors, they are able to quantify the effect of different approaches to human-technology integration.

These issues are of central interest to designers of autonomous cars and other vehicles in driving contexts and in other contexts of use. By gaining support from a major industry member, research at UC Merced may have broad impact.

Congratulations Dr. Maglio!