Exploring the interplay of automated vehicle functions and vulnerable road users

The main objective in BRAVE is to improve safety and market adoption of automated vehicles by considering the needs and requirements of not only the future drivers but of all actors involved in the traffic environment. These could be other vehicle drivers and especially so-called Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs), such as cyclists or pedestrians.

In order to adequately match future automated systems to the needs and requirements of VRUs, several studies are planned in BRAVE. As a first step trust, acceptance, and the behavior of VRUs towards state of the art automated systems need to be explored as a baseline measurement. Therefore a controlled study at the Fraunhofer site in Stuttgart, Germany was conducted. A representative sample of pedestrians was given the opportunity to experience available market systems both on road and in a virtual environment. The virtual environment was utilized to explore critical scenarios like automated emergency braking, which could be experienced as potentially dangerous. In a real-life scenario, an automated parking function could be experienced.

Within this study needs and potentials for improvement were derived so that future systems can be designed to perfectly serve the VRUs demands without compromising any safety aspect. The results of this study will help to derive innovative interactions and monitoring concepts for safe and intuitive vehicle-environment interactions. Thereby, BRAVE enables a user-centric approach by considering feedback through testing existing technology and close-to-market concepts at early stages of the development process.

Automated parking maneuver with pedestrian crossing
A pedestrian interacting with an automated vehicle in virtual reality

 

Written by :
Nicole Fritz
Sven Bischoff

 

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