University of Southampton wins £50,000 student funding award into training drivers for more automated vehicles from road safety charity IAM RoadSmart

Posted on 04/10/17 |

The University of Southampton has become the very first recipient of the prestigious IAM RoadSmart Human Factors Research Award – a £50,000 award towards funding a PhD student project for research into the training implications for drivers as vehicles become more and more automated.

Universities in the UK were invited to submit applications for this new research grant focussing on driver training as we venture into an era of increasing automation of vehicles and progressing to fully driverless cars.

In a closely fought contest, the winning submission was written by Neville Stanton and Katie Plant from University of Southampton for their report “Training Implications for Drivers of Automated Vehicles.”

They collected their award at IAM RoadSmart’s Driver Ahead conference on 4 October at the RAC Club in London – a conference which attracted 140 industry leaders and experts discussing our automotive future on the roads in the face of the move towards more autonomous vehicles.

IAM RoadSmart is raising the standards of training taking into account the implications of automated vehicles. By comparison, pilots of automated aircraft are required to undertake additional training after qualifying for non-automated craft – but what can be expected on the roads?

The operation of increasingly more automated road vehicles is likely to require different skills and place different demands on drivers than the operation of manual vehicles.

The judging panel for the award included Elizabeth Box, head of research from the RAC Foundation; Dr Shaun Helman from the Transport Research Laboratory; Professor Sarah Sharples from the University of Nottingham; Professor Pete Thomas from the University of Loughborough; Professor Andrew Parkes from the University of Coventry; Professor Steve Stradling from Napier University in Edinburgh; and Professor Angus Wallace, trustee of IAM RoadSmart and chair of the IAM RoadSmart Research Awards Panel.

Professor Wallace said: “All the applications were of a very high standard and could equally have won. The submission by University of Southampton was very carefully thought through, presented very clearly and looked at improving training of drivers of intelligent vehicles. As such, we are delighted to announce the University of Southampton as our first winner.”


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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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