New driver support systems are developed and introduced to the market at increasing speed. In conditions of traffic congestion drivers may be supported by a "Congestion Assistant", a system that combines the features of a Congestion Warning System (acoustic warning and gas pedal counterforce) and a Stop & Go system (automatic gas and brake pedal during congestion). To gain understanding of the effects of driving with a Congestion Assistant on drivers, mental workload of drivers was registered under different conditions as well as acceptance of the system. Mental workload was measured by means of physiological registrations, i.e. heart rate, a secondary task and with the aid of subjective scaling techniques. Acceptance was measured with an acceptance scale. The study was carried out in an advanced driving simulator. Driving with the Congestion Assistant while in congestion potentially leads to decreased driver mental workload, whereas just before congestion starts, i.e. developing just noticeable, the system may add to the workload of the driver. Acceptance is generally high after experiencing the system, though not in all respects. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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