Immersive Simulator Tests ‘Trust’ Between Humans and Self-driving Cars

Research on the physiological responses and fluctuations in trust levels of passengers of self-driving cars is sparse and most research to date has used online surveys and primitive simulations for their experiments rather than realistic, immersive simulations.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science have introduced a new approach to measure trust between passengers and self-driving cars in real-time. Their unique, immersive virtual reality (VR) simulation combines visual, audio and movement engagement that provides a convincingly realistic simulation. The simulator they have developed provides a safe platform to expose human subjects to any trust-damaging incidents such as sharp turns, sudden stops, stoplight violations, speeding, tailgating, unexpected accidents, among others. The simulation incorporates a VR headset with a motion chair using 360-degree videos of actual driving scenarios recorded in South Florida’s roads and highways.