FFG-Success-Story: Building Confidence: Enhancing Trust in Automated Driving

Self-driving cars navigating real traffic represent the future. However: will people trust them enough to step inside?

Drivers’ trust in the functionality, usability, and controllability of self-driving vehicles plays a pivotal role in their decision-making regarding the acceptance or purchase of driver assistance systems.

Therefore, automated driving functions must consistently cater to (future) users, as their driving habits significantly impact the perceived value and acceptance of automated driving features.

Amateur users test automated driving functions

The GENDrive project represented Austria’s inaugural comprehensive user study on automated driving. Expanding upon these findings, the UT4AD field study involves amateur users who voluntarily test the automated driving functions of a current level-2-vehicle in real traffic settings.


Extensive sensor technology monitors the user’s interactions with the vehicle, while the users are simultaneously prompted to vocalize their thoughts. They complete standardized questionnaires regarding trust, acceptance, and usability of the systems both before and after the experimental conditions. Throughout the usage phase, they respond to brief inquiries from the test supervisor present in the vehicle, allowing for investigation into changes over time.

Additionally, ALPL supplies data from the use of automated driving functions, along with contextual information from the traffic infrastructure, to construct comprehensive explanatory models for the behavior of amateur users. Unlike function and system tests conducted with professional drivers or scenario-based virtual tests in a simulation environment, testing with amateur users is anticipated to yield insights that enhance automated driving functions from the perspective of future customers.

Project goals and results

This project focuses on gaining insights into the usability (of the systems), building trust (in the systems) and acceptance of the systems (and thus their purchase and continued use).

Specifically, the project focused on:

– Conception and development of a practical test method

– Gaining knowledge regarding usability, trust, acceptance

– Provision of the test environment including vehicle and infrastructure data


The success of automated driving relies on establishing practical and meaningful user-centered tests with prospective customers under real-world conditions.

The importance of conducting tests with amateur drivers in real traffic is heightened, ensuring that technology is developed with the customer in mind. After all, just because something is technically feasible does not guarantee that people will have the requisite confidence in utilizing it.

Project coordination (Story)

Dr. Alexander Stocker

Key Researcher, Project Manager

Contextual Informations Systems & Operational Insights

Project coordination

Trafficon – Traffic Consultants GmbH

The project was funded by the program “Mobilität der Zukunft” of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action (BMK).
The program is managed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).