Catch My Drift: Elevating Situation Awareness for Highly Automated Driving with an Explanatory Windshield Display User Interface
Broad access to automated cars (ACs) that can reliably and unconditionally drive in all environments is still some years away. Urban areas pose a particular challenge to ACs, since even perfectly reliable systems may be forced to execute sudden reactive driving maneuvers in hard-to-predict hazardous situations. This may negatively surprise the driver, possibly causing discomfort, anxiety or loss of trust, which might be a risk for the acceptance of the technology in general. To counter this, we suggest an explanatory windshield display interface with augmented reality (AR) elements to support driver situation awareness (SA). It provides the driver with information about the car’ s perceptive capabilities and driving decisions. We created a prototype in a human-centered approach and implemented the interface in a mixed-reality driving simulation. We conducted a user study to assess its influence on driver SA. We collected objective SA scores and self-ratings, both of which yielded a significant improvement with our interface in good (medium effect) and in bad (large effect) visibility conditions. We conclude that explanatory AR interfaces could be a viable measure against unwarranted driver discomfort and loss of trust in critical urban situations by elevating SA.