Shaping Human Drivers‘ Behaviour with Autonomous Cars as Role Models

At some point in the future, automated cars (ACs) will share the road with human drivers – in the so-called “mixed traffic”. One arising question regarding mixed traffic considers the reactions of human drivers and other traffic participants towards automated cars. There is already some amount of research on the emotional and behavioral reactions to encounters with automated cars. However, there is nearly no research regarding the question if human drivers might get influenced by automated cars towards copying the ACs driving style.

Since automated cars drive more defensively, rule-compliant and efficiently than humans, their presence in traffic may have a positive impact on traffic safety and flow. By influencing human drivers towards similar behaviors, traffic may profit even more from the presence of automated cars.

Therefore, this PhD project explores the possibilities of influencing human drivers through automated cars. A first question would be, whether human drivers can be influenced by AVs at all. It is also possible that imitation learning from automated cars is only possible under certain circumstances. Therefore, a second question would address those circumstances that are advantageous or essential for social learning.

This dissertation project aims at answering those questions through simulator and online studies.

Forscherin: Helene Walter