Communicating Awareness and Intent in Autonomous Vehicle-Pedestrian Interaction


AV-pedestrian interaction will impact pedestrian safety, etiquette, and overall acceptance of AV technology. Evaluating AV-pedestrian interaction is challenging given limited availability of AVs and safety concerns. These challenges are compounded by “mixed traffic” conditions:colon studying AV-pedestrian interaction will be difficult in traffic consisting of vehicles varying in autonomy level. We propose immersive pedestrian simulators as design tools to study AV-pedestrian interaction, allowing rapid prototyping and evaluation of future AV-pedestrian interfaces. We present OnFoot:colon a VR-based simulator that immerses participants in mixed traffic conditions and allows examination of their behavior while controlling vehicles’ autonomy-level, traffic and street characteristics, behavior of other virtual pedestrians, and integration of novel AV-pedestrian interfaces. We validated OnFoot against prior simulators and Wizard-of-Oz studies, and conducted a user study, manipulating vehicles’ autonomy level, interfaces, and pedestrian group behavior. Our findings highlight the potential to use VR simulators as powerful tools for AV-pedestrian interaction design in mixed traffic.

In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2018.
Karthik Mahadevan
Karthik Mahadevan
PhD student

My research interests include human-robot interaction and human-computer interaction.