Interested in Road Safety? Passionate about leading technologies? This pioneering research needs your help!
1. What is a Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS)?
In a NDS, volunteer participants drive an instrumented vehicle (usually their own) for a period of time, fitted with a discreet data collection system which records continuously their driving behaviour (e.g. where they are looking), the behaviour of their vehicle (e.g. speed, lane position) and the behaviour of other road users with whom they interact (e.g. other drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians) in normal and safety-critical situations.
For more information, please refer to the about the study section of the Australian NDS website.
2. Why is the study being undertaken?
The Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS) will overcome many current limitations in the way we collect road safety data because it allows us to see what actually happens when people drive in the real world and how they interact with other road users.
This study is being undertaken to discover how drivers interact with their own vehicle, with in-vehicle and portable technologies, with vehicle occupants and with other road users and road infrastructure, in different driving environments. We will determine how drivers drive normally to avoid crashes, how they deal with hazards such as unexpected pedestrians crossing the roadway and difficult driving situations such as negotiating busy intersections without traffic lights, the conditions in which risky driving occurs, and how drivers adapt to risky driving situations.
For more information, please refer to the about the study section of the Australian NDS website.
3. Who is running the study?
The study is being led by the University of New South Wales, in collaboration with the following universities: University of Adelaide, Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Several government and industry partners are also involved: The Australian Research Council, Transport for NSW, VicRoads, NRMA, Transport Accident Commission, Motor Accident Commission, and the Office of Road Safety (Main Roads WA).
4. How many vehicles will be involved in the study?
This study will recruit 360 vehicles (180 in Sydney/Regional NSW and 180 in Melbourne/Regional Victoria).
5. What are the eligibility requirements for participation in this study?
You need to:
- hold a valid, full, NSW or Victorian driver’s licence;
- be between 20 and 70 years of age;
- be the owner of a registered vehicle or have written permission from the owner of the registered vehicle you intend to drive in the study;
- drive at least 5 days or 10 trips a week;
- be a car driver – only drivers of sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, station wagons and four-wheel drives/sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are eligible
Vehicle makes and models from 2002 onwards are preferred.
6. What are my main obligations as a study participant?
As a study participant, you will be asked to:
- have the study equipment installed in your vehicle at a designated installation site;
- undertake a consent and driver assessment process;
- drive as you normally would for a period of 4 months;
- possibly return your vehicle to the installation site to have some recording equipment replaced (we will notify you if this is required);
- return to the installation site to have the equipment removed from your vehicle; and
- not tamper with or intentionally damage the study equipment.
For more detailed information, please refer to the participant information section of the ANDS website.
7. How much of your time will be required?
We estimate that, assuming there are no technical problems with your vehicle that require you to bring it back to us, we will need your vehicle for approximately 5-7 hours for installation of study equipment, and approximately 3-4 hours for de-installation.
We will need approximately 2-3 hours of your time to complete the consent process, study questionnaires, and driver assessments while the equipment is being installed, and approximately 1 hour of your time to complete the study exit process while the equipment is being removed from your vehicle.
8. What type of equipment will be installed in my vehicle?
Each data collection system will incorporate multiple sensors to provide a complete picture of driver, vehicle and road user behaviour in all driving situations. They include: video cameras, a still camera, GPS (to assess speed and location of vehicle at a particular point in time), lane tracker (to automatically detect lane deviations), front radar (to detect presence and distance to forward vehicles) and accelerometers (to measure how hard your vehicle starts, stops, and turns).
There will also be sensors detect the amount of ambient light, yaw (swerving) and temperature, and a red incident button near the rear vision mirror for you to press should you wish to record a 30 sec audio message after any safety-related or other incident.
A complex sensor called Mobileye will automatically detect if the driver of your vehicle is about to have a collision, is accidently moving out of your travel lane, is driving too close to the vehicle ahead, or is speeding. Note that this sensor will NOT issue any warnings and will NOT prevent collisions from occurring.
For further detail, please refer to the study equipment section of the ANDS website.
9. Will my car be damaged by the data collection system installed in it?
No. Installation and removal of the data collection system will be carried out by highly experienced technicians, employed by UNSW and Monash University, who have undergone specialist training. They will take extreme care to avoid any damage, and will use automotive grade fasteners and existing mounting holes to avoid damage to your vehicle.
10. Will the study equipment affect the normal operation of my vehicle?
The data collection system will not affect the operating or handling characteristics of the vehicle under normal conditions. In some very rare cases, the electromagnetic signals generated by the data collection system may cause interference with the vehicle’s radio, keyless entry key fob, or other electronic components or sensors, such as the tyre pressure monitoring system. Our technicians will check if any interference occurs during the installation process as part of a technical and safety check. In the very unlikely event that this should happen in your vehicle, our technicians will work to minimise the interference.
11. Will audio be recorded in the vehicle cabin?
The video cameras will NOT record any audio in the cabin.
The only time that audio will be recorded is if you choose to press the red incident button located near the rear vision mirror. In this case, you can record a message for up to 30 seconds; for example, if you want to say something about a safety-related or other incident you have just been involved in.
12. How long will I need to be involved in the study?
Each participant is required to drive his or her vehicle with the data collection system installed for a period of 4 months.
13. What’s in it for me?
Your involvement in the study will ensure that this Australian-first study will be a success and contribute to reducing deaths and injuries on our roads. Study outcomes will be used to develop new road safety programs, policies and products. Participants who complete the study will receive two separate gift vouchers to the combined value of $250.
14. Can anyone else drive my car during the study period?
Yes. However, the study team will request contact information of other drivers who are detected driving your vehicle to seek their consent to include their driving data in the study. If they decide not to provide consent for their data to be included, we will delete all of their driving data.
15. What if I want to sell my car?
If you intend to sell your vehicle within the 4 month study period, you will unfortunately not be eligible to participate. However, as circumstances change, we understand that you may need to sell your vehicle. If this is the case, we require that you contact us as soon as possible so that we may remove the equipment from your vehicle.
16. What if I have to service my car during the study?
All study equipment has been designed so as not to interfere with normal use of the vehicle. As such, servicing on the vehicle can be carried out as normal. We will provide an information sheet for servicing mechanics that can be kept in the vehicle glove box.
17. Will participation in the study affect my insurance coverage?
It is not a requirement for participation in the study that the vehicle you drive be covered by third party property or comprehensive insurance; such insurance coverage is as always a matter for you (or the vehicle owner) to consider and to take out as you consider appropriate. The vehicle you intend to drive in the study must, however, be registered and meet all registration requirements in your State.
If you (or the vehicle owner) hold comprehensive insurance, it is suggested that you provide your insurance company with a letter, prepared by the study team, which explains what is involved for vehicles used in the study. This letter will be provided to all study participants at the beginning of the study, and it is available for download in the study documents section.
Neither study personnel nor their respective organisations are responsible for the expenses that are caused by a crash involving your vehicle during the period in which the data collection system is installed in the vehicle. In the event of a crash, neither you nor another driver of the vehicle is responsible for any damage to the data collection system that is installed into your vehicle.
18. Are there any restrictions on where I live and can drive my vehicle during the study period?
Anyone living in NSW or Victoria can participate, although the installation sites for equipping recording equipment to vehicles will be located in Sydney and Melbourne. You can drive your car anywhere you like. However, we ask that you not drive the vehicle into any areas where cameras and radar transmitters are not allowed, including military bases, radio observatories or similarly restricted facilities. You could be detained or arrested if you inadvertently drive into a restricted facility. Should this occur, you can show authorities a glove-box letter prepared by the study team that explains the role of you and your vehicle in the study.
19. What if my car is stolen or damaged while the equipment is installed?
As is normally the case, we recommend you inform the police and your vehicle insurer of the incident. Following this, please notify the study team of the incident. You will not be held liable for any damage to the study equipment.
20. Am I free to withdraw from this study at any time?
If you decide to participate, you are free to withdraw your consent and to discontinue participation at any time without prejudice. Any data collected after your withdrawal date will be deleted from our database.
If you choose to end your participation in the study earlier than originally planned, we will need to schedule a time to remove the study equipment from your vehicle.
21. Has this research been approved by the relevant Human Research Ethics Committees?
Yes, this research has been reviewed and approved by the ethics committees of all the participating universities:
- University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee
- Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee
- Queensland University of Technology Human Research Ethics Committee
- University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee
- Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board
22. How will the information and data collected from me be used?
Information/data collected during the study will be used in research (both now and in the future) to understand what people do when driving their cars in normal and safety-critical situations. Outcomes from this study will be used to derive answers to some important road safety-related research questions that can only be answered in studies like this. Answers to these questions will be used to develop new road safety programs, policies and products that are expected to save many lives and prevent many serious injuries. For example, improved driver training programs, improved licensing procedures, improved vehicle and road design, etc. Study outcomes will also be published in scientific journals and presented at national and international road safety conferences.
23. How will my privacy be maintained? How will the data collected from me be stored and protected?
Throughout the study, we will take all possible steps to protect your privacy and keep confidential your role in the study and the confidentiality of any information that might identify you.
Procedures are in place to ensure that data collected during the study will be treated in full compliance with applicable privacy laws. For example, data obtained by sensors and cameras will be encrypted (so it is unreadable until processed by authorised members of the study team). Also, we will use a code to identify you as the vehicle driver (rather than your name) when handling and analysing your driving data.
24. Are there any circumstances under which my details might be disclosed to people outside the study team?
The privacy protection afforded to you as a study participant does not prevent the study team from disclosing matters such as child abuse, or a participant’s threatened or actual harm to self or others, that is observable in your collected driving records. In terms of your driving, this could also include behaviours such as habitually running red lights at high speed. Such behaviours may result in your removal from the study and reporting of the behaviour to the appropriate authorities.
In the event of a crash, any information that is obtained in connection with this study and that can be identified with you will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission or if required by law (e.g., if subjected to a valid search warrant or a subpoena).
25. What steps will I have to take to protect my privacy as a study participant?
Protect your role in the study in the same way that you would protect other personal and private information. You should avoid posting or disclosing your participation in the study on any public forum including websites and social media, newspapers, radio and television.
26. For how long will my data be kept?
All data collected will be stored for a minimum period of 15 years after the last vehicle exits the study, at which point all participant identifying data will be deleted from all databases. De-identified sensor data (e.g. GPS data, accelerometer data, radar data etc.) will be kept for up to 20 years. It is necessary to retain the data for this period of time so that researchers other than those involved in this study can have access to it for future research.
27. When will the study be completed and results available?
We estimate that the study will be completed in 2018, when all vehicles have driven for 4 months, and all the data have been analysed. The results will be available in late 2018.
28. Can I get feedback on my driving style or how good a driver I am?
Unfortuantely, no individual feedback will be provided.
29. Can I access my video files?
You may be able to access your video files if the request is made through a subpoena or a search warrant, and the study team is reimbursed for time spent locating and preparing the video file.
30. Who should I contact for more information?
Please refer to the contact us page on the ANDS website.
31. Are motor cycle riders eligible to participate?
The focus for the current study is on drivers of light passenger vehicles. The data acquisition device and instrumentation is not suitable/compatible with motorcycles (http://www.ands.unsw.edu.au/photo-gallery).
There may be opportunities for other road users including motor cyclists, cyclists, and heavy vehicle drivers to participate in future studies. However, specialist equipment for motorcycles and pedal cycles would need to be designed that is lightweight and considers their unique mobility features.