Dr. Sowmya Somanath, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Design, will be presenting research on Autonomous Vehicle–Pedestrian Interaction at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Montreal April 21 to 26.
Collaborating with student Karthik Mahadevan, and Dr. Ehud Sharlin from University of Calgary, the team’s work examined a possible replacement for driver cues using interfaces that communicate the vehicle’s awareness of pedestrians and the vehicle’s next action to the pedestrian.
Through a design exploration study, the team proposed preliminary design space for building such interfaces, focusing on the use of different cue modalities such as visual, auditory, and physical, as well as locations for the interface: the vehicle, street infrastructure, pedestrian, or a combination of the three.
The resulting prototypes were deployed on a Segway and a car for evaluation, with 20 users participating. The work suggests that in conjunction with the vehicle’s motion, interfaces can communicate vital information about an autonomous vehicle to pedestrians and help them make informed crossing decisions.