A cube-shaped object suddenly dropping from a trailer into a vehicle’s path is a simple, reliable and transparent way to test human behavior in critical traffic situations or the human-driver interaction. The vehicle approaches the trailer at a predetermined speed. As soon as the vehicle reaches predetermined position, the cube will drop from the trailer and into the road. The driver’s brake pedal activation and steering behavior are indicators of their reaction. The remaining distance to the obstacle is suggestive of the quality of the assistance system.

In order to keep test participants from anticipating what is about to happen, they are told a cover story to conceal the true objective of the experiment. They also drive through an uneventful version of the scenario again and again until they no longer expect anything in particular to happen there.

Sudden Obstacles

Video about testing human behavior in critical traffic situations.