To garner large-scale user acceptance and confidence for autonomous mobility solutions, the technology company Continental is developing a holistic solution for human-machine interaction, specifically designed for autonomous vehicles. This solution was developed in the CUbE, Continentals development platform for driverless technologies. Autonomous shuttle buses or robo-taxis currently being tested along predetermined routes will pave the way for tomorrow’s driverless vehicles, which will smoothly navigate complex, mixed traffic scenarios. But before they become a regular feature on urban roads, robo-taxis must gain wide-ranging user acceptance and trust. Safety, accessibility, comfort and an immersive onboard experience will drive acceptance for these vehicles, ultimately leading to their large-scale adoption.
Continental’s holistic human-machine solution will lay the foundation for this by providing an end-to-end experience for users, not only limited to booking a ride and transporting passengers to their destination. The concept also helps them to plan the next course of their journey and provide relevant information about social events. Most importantly, it will reassure passengers and pedestrians regarding their safety within and around the driverless vehicle and create opportunities for smart cities and service providers to make customized services available.
“With this approach, Continental is enabling an intuitive interaction between driverless vehicles, passengers and pedestrians. We are establishing a continuous and natural dialogue between people and vehicles, building user trust and delight, which is an imperative for autonomous driving,” said Karsten Michels, Head of Systems & Technology at Continental’s Interior division.
“At the CES, we will demonstrate seamless human-machine cooperation within and outside the CUbE using complementary audio and visual interfaces. Our demonstration is based on existing products and competencies of Continental, some of which are currently market ready,” he added.
Holistic human-machine interaction at the center of an immersive user experience
At the CES 2020, Continental will showcase how the user will be able to book a shuttle and reserve their seat conveniently through a smartphone application. As they wait for their ride, the position of the shuttle will be constantly trackable on the application. A personalized welcome message will greet the user on arrival of the shuttle. Passengers will be able to view the complete travel information, availability of local services and vehicle notifications aggregated in the form of a dynamic timeline, on a large display. Delivering an audio experience complementary to the visual elements in the vehicle, passengers will be updated regarding their ride status and trip events with ambient sound synchronized with the motion of the vehicle.
Points of interest will be displayed in real-time as the vehicle drives through the city, complete with the latest information on cultural and social events. This will create opportunities for cities and service providers to reach their customers with tailored offers. Prior to arrival, the vehicle will display information about connecting transportation. For example, the passenger will be informed about the departure time of the next available train or shuttle to take them to their next destination.
The ultimate goal is to build trust between users and driverless vehicles
Safety is the main consideration for autonomous driving, be it for the passenger or the pedestrian. Continental’s holistic human-machine interface will respond and communicate when pedestrians are detected in the path of the shuttle. The vehicle’s sensors will register the presence of the pedestrian and validate this through an easily understandable audio-visual interface, which is compatible with certain optical disabilities, such as color blindness. For example, external displays with infographics will mirror the information detected by the sensors to inform the pedestrians or other vehicles that their presence has been registered by the shuttle. External sound, in addition, will communicate to the pedestrian that their presence has been detected in the vehicles trajectory and will caution them to move out of the way. If the vehicle stops to allow pedestrians to cross, the passengers inside will be notified accordingly.