What externally presented information do VRUs require when interacting with fully Automated Road Transport Systems in shared space?

As the desire for deploying automated (“driverless”) vehicles increases, there is a need to understand how they might communicate with other road users in a mixed traffic, urban, setting. In the absence of an active and responsible human controller in the driving seat, who might currently communicate with other road users in uncertain/conflicting situations, in the future, understanding a driverless car’s behaviour and intentions will need to be relayed via easily comprehensible, intuitive and universally intelligible means, perhaps presented externally via new vehicle interfaces. This paper reports on the results of a questionnaire-based study, delivered to 664 participants, recruited during live demonstrations of an Automated Road Transport Systems (ARTS; SAE Level 4), in three European cities. The questionnaire sought the views of pedestrians and cyclists, focussing on whether respondents felt safe interacting with ARTS in shared space, and also what externally presented travel behaviour information from the ARTS was important to them. Results showed that most pedestrians felt safer when the ARTS were travelling in designated lanes, rather than in shared space, and the majority believed they had priority over the ARTS, in the absence of such infrastructure. Regardless of lane demarcations, all respondents highlighted the importance of receiving some communication information about the behaviour of the ARTS, with acknowledgement of their detection by the vehicle being the most important message. There were no clear patterns across the respondents, regarding preference of modality for these external messages, with cultural and infrastructural differences thought to govern responses. Generally, however, conventional signals (lights and beeps) were preferred to text-based messages and spoken words. The results suggest that until these driverless vehicles are able to provide universally comprehensible externally presented information or messages during interaction with other road users, they are likely to contribute to confusing and conflicting interactions between these actors, especially in a shared space setting, which may, therefore, reduce efficient traffic flow.


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  • Accession Number: 01677137
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 7 2018 3:04PM