Browse Publications Technical Papers 2023-01-0675

What Makes Passengers Uncomfortable In Vehicles Today? An Exploratory Study of Current Factors that May Influence Acceptance of Future Autonomous Vehicles 2023-01-0675

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to transform lives by providing transportation to a wider range of users. However, with this new method of transportation, user acceptance and comfort are critical for widespread adoption. This exploratory study aims to investigate what makes passengers uncomfortable in existing vehicles to inform the design of future autonomous vehicles. In order to predict what may impact user acceptance for a diverse rider population for future autonomous vehicles, it is important to understand what makes a broad range of passengers uncomfortable today. In this study, interviews were conducted for a total of 75 participants from three diverse groups, including 20 automotive engineering graduate students who are building an autonomous concept vehicle, 21 non-technical adults, and 34 senior citizens. The results revealed both topics which made different groups of passengers uncomfortable as well as how these varied between the groups. The leading contributors to the highest discomfort for all groups were being a passenger in situations with a distracted driver, being in a vehicle that is following too closely, being near a vehicle that is following too closely, and being in foggy conditions. In addition, the results showed that passenger discomfort can be attributed to a broad range of factors ranging from behaviors of the driver/vehicle that one is traveling with/in, the behaviors of other surrounding vehicles, the environmental conditions and the vehicle’s interior, all of which may differ between different groups of passengers. This research provides important findings and insights into factors that may influence users’ acceptance and use of future autonomous vehicles.


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