AVIP - Autonomous vehicles´ interaction with pedestrians - An investigation of pedestrian-driver communication and development of a vehicle external interface.


The development of automated vehicles (AVs) is moving rapidly forward with companies already performing or planning trials in public traffic environment. However, the aspect of how pedestri-ans will experience AVs and interact with them has so far largely been unexplored.

The purpose of the master thesis project was to investigate if there is a need to enhance the ve-hicle’s ability to communicate with pedestrians when introducing automated driving. Addition-ally, the project included how the interaction between pedestrians and AVs was affected by in-troducing an external communication interface.

The project relied on observations and interviews with a Wizard of Oz approach to give the pe-destrians the experience of interacting with an automated vehicle. The pedestrians’ emotional experiences were mainly gathered using the Self-assessment manikin tool (SAM) and verbal comments.The results indicate that the pedestrians have a need of knowing when a vehicle is in automated driving mode. This since the decoupled driver’s inattentive behavior otherwise is interpreted as uncertain and dangerous, resulting an unwillingness for the pedestrian to cross.

This was addressed by the introduction of a prototype that communicates the vehicle’s current driving mode and intentions to the pedestrians. Specifically, a LED strip lights up in different se-quences to communicate that the vehicle is “in automated driving mode”, “is about to yield”, “is resting” or “is about to start”. The evaluation showed that the pedestrians were able to under-stand the signals conveyed by the interface, and that they were confident in their interpretation of the signals, after only a short training. The pedestrians also reported that the interface re-placed the role of the driver in encounters with the automated vehicle, and even excelled to-day’s interaction as the communication was clearer and available earlier.

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