Are Drivers Allowed to Sleep? Sleep Inertia Effects Drivers' Performance after Different Sleep Durations in Automated Driving.

Doreen Schwarze,Frederik Diederichs, Lukas Weiser, Harald Widlroither, Rolf Verhoeven,Matthias Rötting

Multimodal Technol. Interact.(2023)

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Higher levels of automated driving may offer the possibility to sleep in the driver's seat in the car, and it is foreseeable that drivers will voluntarily or involuntarily fall asleep when they do not need to drive. Post-sleep performance impairments due to sleep inertia, a brief period of impaired cognitive performance after waking up, is a potential safety issue when drivers need to take over and drive manually. The present study assessed whether sleep inertia has an effect on driving and cognitive performance after different sleep durations. A driving simulator study with n = 13 participants was conducted. Driving and cognitive performance were analyzed after waking up from a 10-20 min sleep, a 30-60 min sleep, and after resting without sleep. The study's results indicate that a short sleep duration does not reliably prevent sleep inertia. After the 10-20 min sleep, cognitive performance upon waking up was decreased, but the sleep inertia impairment faded within 15 min. Although the driving parameters showed no significant difference between the conditions, participants subjectively felt more tired after both sleep durations compared to resting. The small sample size of 13 participants, tested in a within-design, may have prevented medium and small effects from becoming significant. In our study, take-over was offered without time pressure, and take-over times ranged from 3.15 min to 4.09 min after the alarm bell, with a mean value of 3.56 min in both sleeping conditions. The results suggest that daytime naps without previous sleep deprivation result in mild and short-term impairments. Further research is recommended to understand the severity of impairments caused by different intensities of sleep inertia.
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Key words
automated driving, sleep, sleep inertia, take-over, driving performance, cognitive performance, driving simulator study
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