Automated driving can fundamentally change road transportation and improve quality of life. However, at present, the role of humans in automated vehicles (AVs) is not clearly established. Interviews were conducted in April and May 2015 with 12 expert researchers in the field of human factors (HFs) of automated driving to identify commonalities and distinctive perspectives regarding HF challenges in the development of AVs. The experts indicated that an AV up to SAE Level 4 should inform its driver about the AV's capabilities and operational status, and ensure safety while changing between automated and manual modes. HF research should particularly address interactions between AVs, human drivers and vulnerable road users. Additionally, driver-training programmes may have to be modified to ensure that humans are capable of using AVs. Finally, a reflection on the interviews is provided, showing discordance between the interviewees’ statements – which appear to be in line with a long history of HFs research – and the rapid development of automation technology. We expect our perspective to be instrumental for stakeholders involved in AV development and instructive to other parties.