Vulnerable road users and the coming wave of automated vehicles: Expert perspectives

Wilbert Tabone*, Joost de Winter, Claudia Ackermann, Jonas Bärgman, Martin Baumann, Shuchisnigdha Deb, Colleen Emmenegger, Azra Habibovic, Marjan Hagenzieker, P. A. Hancock, Riender Happee, Josef Krems, John D. Lee, Marieke Martens, Natasha Merat, Don Norman, Thomas B. Sheridan, Neville A. Stanton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
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Automated driving research over the past decades has mostly focused on highway environments. Recent technological developments have drawn researchers and manufacturers to look ahead at introducing automated driving in cities. The current position paper examines this challenge from the viewpoint of scientific experts. Sixteen Human Factors researchers were interviewed about their personal perspectives on automated vehicles (AVs) and the interaction with VRUs in the future urban environment. Aspects such as smart infrastructure, external human-machine interfaces (eHMIs), and the potential of augmented reality (AR) were addressed during the interviews. The interviews showed that the researchers believed that fully autonomous vehicles will not be introduced in the coming decades and that intermediate levels of automation, specific AV services, or shared control will be used instead. The researchers foresaw a large role of smart infrastructure and expressed a need for AV-VRU segregation, but were concerned about corresponding costs and maintenance requirements. The majority indicated that eHMIs will enhance future AV-VRU interaction, but they noted that implicit communication will remain dominant and advised against text-based and instructive eHMIs. AR was commended for its potential in assisting VRUs, but given the technological challenges, its use, for the time being, was believed to be limited to scientific experiments. The present expert perspectives may be instrumental to various stakeholders and researchers concerned with the relationship between VRUs and AVs in future urban traffic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100293
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Augmented reality
  • Automated vehicles
  • External human-machine interfaces
  • Position paper
  • Smart infrastructure
  • Virtual reality


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