Ghost Busting: A Novel On-Road Exploration of External HMIs for Autonomous Vehicles

Organisation: University of Nottingham

Date of Publication: April 2023

Uploaded to Knowledge Centre: 7 September 2023

A novel study undertaken by the University of Nottingham has found that, in the absence of someone in the driving seat, pedestrians trust certain visual prompts more than others when deciding whether to cross in front of an autonomous car. The aim of the study was to understand how pedestrians respond naturally to self-driving vehicles with different External Human-Machine Interfaces (eHMIs) – visual displays positioned on the front of the vehicle. To do this, a car was driven around the university’s Park Campus over several days with a ‘ghost-driver’ concealed in the driver’s seat. A series of different designs projected onto the eHMI informed pedestrians of the car’s behaviour and intention – including expressive eyes and a face, accompanied by short text-based language such as “I have seen you” or “I am giving way”.