Children’s Use of eHMI Displays to Guide Road-Crossing Decisions
Autonomous vehicle (AV) technology is advancing at a rapid pace. One concern is how AVs will communicate their intentions to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians. Past work has focused almost exclusively on how adults respond to various types of electronic human-machine interface (eHMI) AV displays. The goal of this investigation is to examine how 8- to 14-year-old children respond to the combination of eHMI display cues and vehicle dynamics cues that signal the intention of an AV to yield to them at a crosswalk. In one condition, the timing of the eHMI cues will be early (i.e., the light will turn green at the time the vehicle begins to decelerate) and in the other condition, the timing of the eHMI cues will be late (i.e., the light will turn green at the time the vehicle comes to a stop). The task for participants is to cross between the two vehicles when they think the tail vehicle will yield to them. Our primary measure will be how long children wait before initiating their crossing after the first vehicle passes them. We expect that vehicle dynamics and eHMI timing may interact such that there will be less difference in children’s responding to vehicles that slow down gradually vs. abruptly when the eHMI comes on early than when it comes on late. This project will provide new information about how child pedestrians interpret and respond to eHMI information that can be used for designing eHMIs that effectively communicate with pedestrians of all ages.