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Safe to Approach: Insights on Autonomous Vehicle Interaction Protocols with First Responders

March 13, 2023 Publications

Authors: Seong Hee Lee, Vaidehi Patil, Nicholas Britten, Avram Block, Aryaman Pandya, Malte F. Jung, Paul Schmitt

Published: March 13, 2023

Summary: As autonomous vehicles (AV) become increasingly common on our roads, it is important for first responders - police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services to learn new interaction protocols as they can no longer rely on those applied to human-driven vehicles. This study identifies critical pain points and concerns of first responders interacting with AVs on the road. We explore 7 different designs that communicate that an AV is in park and is safe to approach and analyze how first responders perceive these designs in terms of clarity and safety. We conducted qualitative interviews with 9 first responders and gained insights on how the needs of first responders can be integrated within the AV design process. As a result, we identify an AV safe park state communication protocol that would be ideal for first responders. Additionally, we derive a guideline for effective communication methods that can be used in the design of these vehicles establishing research methods that involve emergency responders within the loop.

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