The advent of autonomous technologies is both exciting and (potentially) alarming. The success or failure of such systems will very much depend on how they interact with people. As such, the need for strong communication, interface, and interaction design grows larger rather than smaller.
Automotive Interaction Design
How will drivers and pedestrians interact with partially (SAE levels 3 and 4) and fully (level 5) autonomous vehicles?
Shared Control and Driver State
We run studies on how autonomous vehicles should take or transfer control to a human driver, with a particular focus on the vehicle's human-machine interaction (HMI) and transfer of control. Most of these studies are conducted at the Automotive Innovation Facility in a full-chassis simulator with wraparound screen and multichannel audio. The simulator allows us to examine critical situations that cannot safely be studied on the road. We also have 5 network-connected mini-simulators. Many of these studies examine participants' physiological states, utilizing measures such as heart rate monitoring, eye tracking, face emotion coding, and functional Near Infrared Sensing (fNIRS).
On-Road Vehicle Tests
For a more realistic context than a driving simulator, we also simulate autonomous vehicles to explore and quickly prototype real-life interactions on the road. We have several protocols to study how drivers would behave inside of a car, as well as pedestrians and road users outside of the car.
Virtual Reality and AI
We are experimenting with VR/AR, creating environments that feel and respond like on-road driving, yet incorporate features of simulation. We are also starting to use artificial intelligence to learn, and adapt to, individuals’ driving styles.
Human Robot Interaction
We seek to understand how people respond to autonomous physical agents, and how devices should be designed to streamline interactions.
We build and design robotic systems that allow us to study how people interact with seemingly autonomous systems, often using Wizard-of-Oz techniques. To date, we have explored how people would interact with robotic versions of the following commonplace items: sofa, ottoman, chest of drawers, trash barrel, and chair.
As autonomous delivery robots enter our lives, we have begun, and will continue to, interact with them while out in public. We seek to understand and develop a common design language that autonomous systems can use to better communicate with us while navigating pedestrian spaces.
Design Collaboration Tools
Drawing on the Center for Design Research's long history of research on the design process and teams, we continue to explore how people collaborate in a globalized workforce. We design systems that improve the quality of team interactions and bring us closer together, over distance and across time.