According to a new study, women are better at operating driverless cars than men.
Researchers from Newcastle University found that women have faster reaction times, have more control of the wheel and are better at regaining control of the vehicle when necessary.
dr Shuo Li, an intelligent transport systems expert at Newcastle University, said: “Women often don’t realize how good they are at driving, but our results show that they actually do slightly better.”
The advent of driverless cars allows people to completely disengage from driving and perform other non-driving related tasks, but sometimes they may need to regain control of the vehicle.
For the study, 76 participants – 33 women and 43 men – drove a simulator that mimics taking control of a driverless vehicle to observe and compare performance.
The simulator gave participants 20 seconds to regain control of the driverless vehicle to detect and avoid a collision with a parked car.
The results showed that, compared to men, women were less hasty in takeovers, reacted slightly quicker and were more stable on the steering wheel.
On average, women took 2.45 seconds to regain control of the car compared to men who took 2.63 seconds.
To avoid a parked car, women took an average of 13.52 seconds to notice and change lanes, while men took 13.76 seconds.
Previous studies of driverless cars have focused on attitudes and perspectives, with women being more concerned about their use, but research on how different genders use the vehicles is still limited.
The study’s authors say their research could help inform the design, and therefore the usability, of driverless cars, as the lack of such knowledge potentially diminishes their usefulness.
Professor Roberto Palacin, Acting Head of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, said: “Our research can inform software engineers so that the automated vehicle can be customized for the user, in the same way people have, or could, have different ringtones on their mobile phones prefer to have it in dark mode.
“Perhaps this could include your security needs in terms of response times. In the same way you can change the font size on your phone, if you don’t see very well, if I buy a car for my mother who is 70 years old then there might be a mode for that.”
The research team added that neglecting the influence of gender could potentially lead to serious problems related to transport equity and, in turn, encourage other forms of gender inequality.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
https://www.independent.ie/news/women-better-than-men-at-operating-driverless-cars-study-finds-41880198.html Study shows women are better than men at using driverless cars