Research Areas

Novice Drivers

It is well known that the number one cause of death for teenagers is motor vehicle crashes. While many interventions have been introduced to improve teenage driving safety (e.g., driver education programs), they still are involved in an alarming number of fatal traffic crashes. We are interested in studying how a variety of factors effect teenage driving performance. For example, we study how teenage driver training differ between those of different populations (e.g., males versus females). We also study how passengers effect teenage driving behavior, e.g., does your best friend who sits next to you in the car encourage you to engage in safe or unsafe behavior? With this information, we can design appropriate training and feedback systems to improve teenage driving behavior.

Feedback Systems

The Roberts Research Group is interested in designing and testing feedback systems for drivers. In this case, feedback is information given to drivers regarding their driving behavior or the state of the vehicle. Feedback systems can deliver information to the driver both in real-time (i.e., during the drive), or post-drive (i.e., after the drive has been completed). Proper design of these feedback systems that takes into account Human Factors principles is of extreme importance. For example, as automated vehicles become more prevalent on the roadway, feedback systems will convey pertinent information to the driver about varying roadway demands as well as the state of the automation. Ensuring that this information is properly delivered to the driver in the appropriate mode ensures that the driver is kept abreast of the state of the automated system.

Automated Vehicles

Given their potential to improve safety and reduce the number of crashes, it is important to fully understand how the introduction of such advanced technology will change the driving landscape. We are interested in studying human’s adaptation to automated vehicles, including both the positive and negative impacts. For example, how will different driver populations respond to the technology? Will automated driving lead to an increased prevalence of distraction and impairment? Will drivers know how to respond when the automation fails?

If you are interested in collaborating with us to answer some of these questions, please contact Prof. Roberts via email!

Research Sponsors

Thank you to our research sponsors! This research wouldn't be possible without your support!