Investigating External Interaction Modality and Design Between Automated Vehicles and Pedestrians at Crossings

Sue Bai, Dakota Drake Legge, Ashley Young, Shan Bao, Feng Zhou

In this study, we investigated the effectiveness and user acceptance of three external interaction modalities (i.e., visual, auditory, and visual+auditory) in promoting communications between automated vehicle systems (AVS) and pedestrians at a crosswalk through a large number of combined designs. For this purpose, an online survey was designed and distributed to 68 participants. All participants reported their overall preferences for safety, comfort, trust, ease of understanding, usability, and acceptance towards the systems. Results showed that the visual+auditory interaction modality was the mostly preferred, followed by the visual interaction modality and then the auditory one. We also tested different visual and auditory interaction methods, and found that "Pedestrian silhouette on the front of the vehicle" was the best preferred option while middle-aged participants liked "Chime" much better than young participants though it was overall better preferred than others. Finally, communication between the AVS and pedestrians' phones was not well received due to privacy concerns. These results provided important interface design recommendations in identifying better combination of visual and auditory designs and therefore improving AVS communicating their intention with pedestrians.

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