Using a novel approach to engage the public via the analysis of journeys seen through the eyes of autonomous vehicles

25 May 2021 - Published by Sophie Rasbash

The future interface between humans, autonomous vehicles (AVs) and the physical environment will have significant societal, cultural and spatial implications. The acceptance of new technology and the adaptation into the everyday life of communities can often be met with initial scepticism. Unforeseen user-technology interactions and experiences will always materialise, as humans are not always passive followers and can be apprehensive when it comes to accepting such a novel technology as self-driving vehicles on the roads.

Robert Gordon University has been exploring the use of innovative visualisation to communicate and foster discussion in order to anticipate possible scenarios concerning the introduction of AVs. Developing such an approach could potentially aid in conceptualising human experiences of using driverless vehicles and enhance public engagement and understanding of the complex human-machine interactions. Open dialogue with potential end-users, creative approach to co-design and participation of stakeholders in a project seem indispensable when thinking about the future success of integrating AVs in the actual contexts of our cities.


Laser scanning has been considered as not only the technology associated with vehicles computation but a facilitator for discussion on car-human-environment potential vulnerabilities and engagement tool to induce a smooth transition to a safer, automated urban future. Visualisation of potential routes of AVs within the city obtained from the scanning device revealed a detailed record of surroundings and encouraged thinking about the micro-interactions between individuals and technology. The journeys seen through the ‘eyes of AVs’ reconceptualised the context and highlighted the nuances of experience between the machines, urban space and human bodies.












The integration of AVs on public roads will rely on technical, software innovation to make sure that vehicles can safely function in a real-world yet, the discussion on the perceptual and ethical effects of new technology and potential influences on society via engaging the public in the process will help to cope with expectations and create prospects for mutual learning.


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