Authors: Avram Block, Seonghee Lee, Aryaman Pandya, Paul Schmitt
Published: March 13, 2023
Summary: With the advent of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on public roads, the frequency of interactions between these AVs and pedestrians will increase. One example of such an interaction is at unsignalized crosswalks, where pedestrians and vehicles must negotiate for the right of way. Studies show that these interactions often use social communication channels. This paper addresses how AVs can fill this communication gap, focusing on the impact of pedestrian self-identifiability. Using VR, we designed two novel awareness-conveying behaviors, and a control condition with no awareness behavior. We then conducted a within-subjects VR study with 19 participants in which they traversed a crosswalk in front of a driverless vehicle in each experimental condition and rated their experience across seven probes. Results indicated that an awareness-conveying behavior significantly increased pedestrians' sense of safety and that increases in self-identifiability further improved pedestrians' experience without resulting in a heightened sense of surveillance from the vehicle.