Learning and development of trust, acceptance and the mental model of ACC. A longitudinal on-road study

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



To harness the potential of advanced driver assistance systems, drivers must learn how to use them in a safe and appropriate manner. The present study investigates the learning process, as well as the development of trust, acceptance and the mental model for interacting with adaptive cruise control (ACC). Research questions aim to model the learning process in mathematical/statistical terms, examine moments and conditions when these processes stabilize, and assess how experience changes the mental model of the system. A sample of fifteen drivers without ACC experience drove a test vehicle with ACC ten consecutive times on the same route within a 2-month period. All participants were fully trained in ACC functionality by reading the owner's manual in the beginning. Results show that learning, as well as the development of acceptance and trust in ACC follows the power law of learning. All processes stabilize at a relatively high level after the fifth session, which corresponds to 185 km or 3.5 h of driving. No decline is observable with ongoing system experience. However, limitations that are not experienced tend to disappear from the mental model if they are not activated by experience. Therefore, it is recommended that users be periodically reminded of system limitations (e.g. by intelligent tutoring systems) to make sure that corresponding knowledge nodes are activated.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-3162-9656/work/142246939



  • Acceptance, Adaptive cruise control, Automation, Mental model, Power law of learning, Trust