Detection of Discomfort in Autonomous Driving via Stochastic Approximation

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Florian KretzschmarMatthias BeggiatoAlois Pichler

Abstract: One of the most important goals in the field of autonomous driving development is to make the experience for the passenger as pleasant and comfortable as possible. In addition to traditional influence factors on passenger comfort, new aspects arise due to the transfer of control from the human to the vehicle. Some of these are apparent safety, motion sickness, user preferences regarding driving style and information needs. Ideally, the vehicle and the passenger should form a team, whereby the vehicle should be able to detect and predict situations of discomfort in real time and take measures accordingly. This requires not only the continuous monitoring of the passengers state but also the implementation of adequate mathematical models. To investigate how this teaming of human and automated agents can be shaped in the most effective way is a key topic of the Collaborative Research Center “Hybrid Societies ( In this framework, driving simulator data from the previous project “KomfoPilot” ( is re-analyzed using new mathematical models. The participants in the study completed several automated drives and reported continuously situations of discomfort using a handset control. Sensor data was collected simultaneously using eye tracking glasses, a smart band, seat pressure sensors and video cameras for motion and face tracking. While pupil diameter, heart rate, interblink intervals, skin conductance and head movement have already been identified as potential single indicators of discomfort, it is now necessary to integrate these and other findings of the project into a functional multivariate model. In this paper, we investigate how such a model can be shaped to offer high prediction accuracy and viable practical implementation. The first important question – which arises from the heterogeneity of the participants – is whether to work with training data on an individual or aggregated level. We compare both possibilities by applying techniques from the field of stochastic approximation for clustering of the chosen training set and subsequent classification of the test data. In the case of an individual model for each participant, we furthermore divide the participants into subgroups and analyze whether there is a connection between the physiological reactions of a passenger and his/her demographic characteristics and driving experience. Finally, we discuss the potential of our method as a reliable prediction model as well as implications for future driving simulator studies and related research.

Keywords: autonomous driving, discomfort, clustering

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002437

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