Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

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Title/Project/Date Speaker Webinar Overview
Title: Impact of Automated Vehicle External Communication on Other Road User Behavior

Project: Safe-D 00-027

Date: December 9, 2022, 14:00 ET

Zoom Link: Register via Zoom

Alexandria Rossi-Alvarez
Alexandria Rossi-Alvarez, Ph.D. Candidate
Virginia Tech
The advancement of SAE Level 4/5 Automated Vehicles (L4/5 AVs) has led numerous stakeholders to develop external communication systems for these vehicles. Most research on vehicles emulating these displays has been conducted using one vehicle. However, it is vital to understand how communication with vulnerable road users (VRUs) is affected when multiple L4/5 vehicles are present. This study examined how L4/5 AVs can best communicate their intentions (e.g., turning, stopping, yielding) to VRUs and drivers of conventional vehicles. Subjective and objective data were collected to assess road user responses to two vehicles emulating L4/5 displays from both a passenger and pedestrian perspective. Participants experienced three light patterns that provided information regarding L4/5 AVs’ intent to slow/stop, begin, and travel with simulated automation active without any prior knowledge. Overall, participants were overwhelmed with multiple vehicles with different light bars in their vicinity and found it challenging to prioritize attention. These results have implications for the future design of external communication displays on L4/5 AVs. Training may be necessary for road users, given the relatively low percentage of participants who understood the meaning of these displays after multiple exposures and participants’ confusion about where to look and how to interpret the intention of the display when multiple vehicles were present.