Publication No 40039


Rakotonirainy, A.; Feller, F.; Haworth, N.


In-Vehicle Avatars to Elicit Social Response and Change Driving Behaviour


Social and psychological theories have provided a plethora of evidence showing that the physical difficulty to express appropriate social interactions between drivers expresses itself in aggression, selfish driving and anti-social behaviour. Therefore there is a need to improve interactions between drivers and allow clearer collective decision making between them. Personal characteristics and the driving situations play strong roles in driver?s aggression. Our approach is centered around the driving situation as opposed to focusing on personality characteristics. It examines aggression and manipulates contextual variables such as driver?s eye contact exchanges. This paper presents a new unobtrusive in-vehicle system that aims at communicating drivers? intentions, elicit social responses and increasing mutual awareness. It uses eye gaze as a social cue to affect collective decision making with the view to contribute to safe driving. The authors used a driving simulator to design a case control experiment in which eye gaze movements are conveyed with an avatar. Participants were asked to drive through different types of intersections. An avatar representing the head of the other driver was displayed and driver behaviour was analysed. Significant eye gaze pattern difference where observed when an avatar was displayed. Drivers cautiously refer to the avatar when information is required on the intention of others (e.g. when they do not have the right of way). The majority of participants reported the perception of ?being looked at?. The number of glances and time spent gazing at the avatar did not indicate an unsafe distraction by standards of in-vehicle device ergonomic design. Avatars were visually consulted primarily in less demanding driving situations, which underlines their non-distractive nature.



Reference entry

Rakotonirainy, A.; Feller, F.; Haworth, N.
In-Vehicle Avatars to Elicit Social Response and Change Driving Behaviour
International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, Vol. 5, No. 4, 2009, pp. 80-104

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Authors marked with an asterisk (*) were IKR staff members at the time the publication has been written.