External Human–Machine Interfaces: The Effect of Display Location on Crossing Intentions and Eye Movements

Yke Bauke Eisma, Steven van Bergen, Sjoerd ter Brake, Matthijs Hensen, Willem Jan Tempelaar, Joost de Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)
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In the future, automated cars may feature external human–machine interfaces (eHMIs) to communicate relevant information to other road users. However, it is currently unknown where on the car the eHMI should be placed. In this study, 61 participants each viewed 36 animations of cars with eHMIs on either the roof, windscreen, grill, above the wheels, or a projection on the road. The eHMI showed ‘Waiting’ combined with a walking symbol 1.2 s before the car started to slow down, or ‘Driving’ while the car continued driving. Participants had to press and hold the spacebar when they felt it safe to cross. Results showed that, averaged over the period when the car approached and slowed down, the roof, windscreen, and grill eHMIs yielded the best performance (i.e., the highest spacebar press time). The projection and wheels eHMIs scored relatively poorly, yet still better than no eHMI. The wheels eHMI received a relatively high percentage of spacebar presses when the car appeared from a corner, a situation in which the roof, windscreen, and grill eHMIs were out of view. Eye-tracking analyses showed that the projection yielded dispersed eye movements, as participants scanned back and forth between the projection and the car. It is concluded that eHMIs should be presented on multiple sides of the car. A projection on the road is visually effortful for pedestrians, as it causes them to divide their attention between the projection and the car itself
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Number of pages18
JournalInformation (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • eHMI
  • eye-tracking
  • attention distribution
  • road safety
  • automated driving
  • driverless vehicles


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