In basic terms, self-driving cars are robots that allow the user to be a passenger. While autonomous cars are not yet widely available, most cars now have some level of advanced driver assistance technologies (ADAS) installed, such as lane following, adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking systems, among others. Many of these systems require an effective human-machine interface for the driver to use. Additionally, self-driving cars require interfaces that enable them to understand the actions and intentions of other drivers, as well as ways to express their own intentions to other drivers. Car drivers use a range of signals to communicate their intent to other drivers, such as slowing down when approaching a crosswalk to indicate it is safe for pedestrians to cross. Jaguar Land Rover developed a more explicit method of communication by putting “googly eyes” on their cars to signal attentiveness to pedestrians. Interactions with the driver don’t just happen through the car’s interface, but often require autonomous technology to communicate why a decision was made.
To read more about how drivers prefer a message that explains “why” an action was taken read more here:
To examine how people perceive and respond to self-driving cars a study was conducted in which a driver is disguised as a car seat, making it seem like the car is self-driving, read more here:
See a video on how self-driving cars work:
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.