An increasing number of automated vehicles will pervade our traffic systems in the future. The absence of a human driver requires these vehicles to communicate to, and interact with other traffic participants, such as vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, and emerging mobility forms like eBikes or scooters), but potentially also drivers of manual vehicles. In this regard, various studies and concepts demonstrating so-called “external Human-Machine Interfaces” (eHMIs) have been presented in the past couple of years. Many of these works have investigated comparably simple scenarios, such as a single pedestrian aiming to cross the street when an automated vehicle is approaching. Although we still welcome such contributions, research in this area will have to take more complex situations into account. This drives the need for research addressing other situations involving groups of vulnerable road users and traffic participants, different scenarios including roundabouts or urban shared spaces, but also exploring the potential of communication and interaction beyond such classical situations to improve cooperation in traffic.
We want to contribute to a more systematic investigation of such communication and interaction systems while providing a forum for thought-provoking ideas and concepts on how automated vehicles and “internet of things” (IoT) technology can be utilized to increase safety, cooperation, comfort, empathy, and understanding between a wide range of traffic participants.
With this Research Topic, we call for papers addressing the before-mentioned aspects, but also think beyond by answering questions like: What does ideal communication between traffic participants look like? What characterizes “good” interaction in traffic? Which ideas and principles should guide communication in the future? Are we just eliminating current problems, or are we ready to develop as-yet uncovered ideas that may shape interaction in the future?
We are interested in research summaries, provoking position statements, literature reviews, as well as systematic evaluations of demonstrators and potential communication systems. In particular, submissions may address one or more of the following topics:
• Scalability (communication between larger user groups)
• Potential ambiguity (multiple agents having different intentions)
• Other types of road users (Bikes, scooters, etc.)
• Accessibility (regarding impaired or underrepresented target groups)
• Communication with drivers of manual vehicles
• User-initiated communication and interaction and acknowledgment of perception of user-initiated messages
• Future goals for communication (fostering empathy, communicating acknowledgments, cooperation, and understanding between traffic participants).