David A. Noyce, Ph.D., P.E.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Civil Engineering




Augmented Reality for Safer Pedestrian-Vehicle Interactions

As sensor technology advances, both inside and outside the vehicle, it is conceivable that the ability to detect pedestrians will be a standard feature of vehicle and roadside infrastructure. In the case of roadside infrastructure, it is conceivable that when the presence of a pedestrian is detected that presence can be communicated to nearby vehicles and therefore the information becomes available to drivers. In the future, communicating the presence of pedestrian to drivers could be possible due to advances in technology that could allow windshields, wearable technology, or in-vehicle devices to provide an augmented version of the roadway environment.

This project will focus on understanding how technology that can be used to augment the reality of the roadway environment can be used to effectively communicate the presence of pedestrians to drivers. Using driving simulation technology, different augmented reality designs that communicate the presence of crosswalks, or warn about the presence of pedestrians, will be evaluated. Driving simulation technology is key to the process since design ideas based on what could be possible in the future can be prototyped in a virtual environment. For example, the potential ability of windshields to overlay information on the road could be studied through virtual prototypes. In addition to the windshield-based information overlay, the effect of in-vehicle or wearable technology can be studied in the simulation environment to see how physical alerts (audio/visual/haptic) can be used to augment the reality of the roadway environment.

The proposed project also includes an educational and workforce development component beyond what is traditionally considered a component of driving simulation research. Part of the research project will focus on providing students with an opportunity to acquire the skills required to create in-vehicle warning systems and understand how the design process goes from concept to implementation. Therefore, a direct by-product of the project is a testing environment for augmented reality concepts and in-vehicle warning systems.