Assessment of Pedestrian Safety and Driver Behavior Near an Automated Vehicle

Principal Investigator(s):

Nichole Morris, Director, Human Factors Safety Lab, Mechanical Engineering


Project summary:

The public's reluctance or reported fear of riding in a fully autonomous vehicle indicates they feel safer riding in a vehicle driven by themselves or other people. However, these surveys focus on consumer attitudes towards fully self-driving vehicles and similar technologies rather than how these consumers behave on the road. In the future, with the increasing ubiquity of various levels of automation in vehicles, there will be a shared levels-of-automation transportation network, with fully manual, partially automated, and fully automated vehicles sharing the same Minnesota roads. While planners and engineers have a reasonable idea of how humans drive around other humans, what is not as well-known is human driving behavior around automated vehicles.

The Med City Mover is a MnDOT-led research project testing two low-speed, automated shuttles in Rochester, MN, to help MnDOT and local agencies plan for automated transportation in Minnesota. The objective of the study is to analyze pedestrian safety and driver behavior near automated vehicles (specifically the Med City Mover shuttle), particularly when the automated vehicle is coming to a stop and yielding to crossing pedestrians. This analysis will be accomplished via in-field data collection in which the research team will act as pedestrians in the crosswalk and observe natural driver behavior. In addition to field data collection a driving simulator will be designed and implemented, and participants will undergo various driving scenarios related to yielding automated vehicles. This study will bolster the general understanding of how drivers interact with automated vehicles, particularly large slower-moving shuttles, thus aiding in the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and shuttle passengers as a whole.

Project details: