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The domain of human-vehicle interaction (HVI) is part of the larger discourse on human-machine interaction (HMI) and for driverless vehicles is often associated with two primary interaction scenarios: 1) internal HVI (iHVI) and 2) external HVI (eHVI).
Ever since the driverless vehicles have been publicly developed and discussed, different concepts have been proposed for the redesign for the interior and related rider experience in terms of iHVI. iHVI is very closely related to the level of automation of the autonomous vehicle (AV). If the vehicle operates on SAE level 5, both manufacturers and passengers might completely rethink the way time is spent in an AV.
As AVs are fused into our everyday traffic, it is crucial that, in addition to correctly interpreting and acting in their surroundings, the AVs need to communicate their intent to other road users. In a fully autonomous traffic scenario, such interaction would take place on a technical data network level (e.g., V2V and V2I) but as long as there are non-AVs and pedestrians present, a certain degree of external interaction, eHVI, is required.
When envisioning a future with, say, robotaxis, one has to solve challenges associated with both external and internal HVI. External HVI is required not only for unambiguous interaction with other road users. It starts with the rider ordering a car, identifying the correct vehicle around the pick-up site and safely negotiating the pick-up procedure. Once inside the vehicle, the riders are used to relying on interactions with human drivers to customize their service experience. In a robotaxi, the iHVI design is expected to not only a ride experience of the same quality, but to allow for higher customizability in terms of comfort, route selection, driving style, and drop-off locations.
Associate Professor of Robotics Engineering, HVI and Teleoperation Team Lead