How Do eHMIs Affect Pedestrians’ Crossing Behavior? A Study Using a Head-Mounted Display Combined with a Motion Suit

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In future traffic, automated vehicles may be equipped with external human-machine interfaces (eHMIs) that can communicate with pedestrians. Previous research suggests that, during first encounters, pedestrians regard text-based eHMIs as clearer than light-based eHMIs. However, in much of the previous research, pedestrians were asked to imagine crossing the road, and unable or not allowed to do so. We investigated the effects of eHMIs on participants’ crossing behavior. Twenty-four participants were immersed in a virtual urban environment using a head-mounted display coupled to a motion-tracking suit. We manipulated the approaching vehicles’ behavior (yielding, nonyielding) and eHMI type (None, Text, Front Brake Lights). Participants could cross the road whenever they felt safe enough to do so. The results showed that forward walking velocities, as recorded at the pelvis, were, on average, higher when an eHMI was present compared to no eHMI when the vehicle yielded. In nonyielding conditions, participants refrained from crossing as indicated by a slight forward and subsequent backward average pelvic motion. An analysis of participants’ thorax angle indicated rotation towards the approaching vehicles and subsequent rotation towards the crossing path. It is concluded that results obtained via a setup in which participants can cross the road are similar to results from survey studies, with eHMIs yielding a higher crossing intention compared to no eHMI. The motion suit allows investigating pedestrian behaviors related to bodily attention and hesitation
Original languageEnglish
Article number386
Number of pages18
JournalInformation (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • virtual reality
  • automated driving
  • pedestrians
  • decision making
  • crossing
  • eHMI


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