A Framework for Measuring Human Uncertainty of Autonomous Vehicles with Specific Attention to the Inclusion of Empathy: Can Human Eyes Reveal Surprise?
Currently, autonomous vehicles are being evaluated by how well they interact with humans without evaluating how well humans interact with them. Since people are not going to unanimously switch over to using autonomous vehicles, attention must be given to how well these new vehicles signal intent to human drivers from the driver’s point of view. Ineffective communication will lead to unnecessary discomfort among drivers caused by an underlying uncertainty about what an autonomous vehicle is or isn’t about to do. Recent studies suggest that humans tend to fixate on areas of higher uncertainty so scenarios that have a higher number of vehicle fixations can be reasoned to be more uncertain. We provide a framework for measuring human uncertainty and use the framework to measure the effect of empathetic vs non-empathetic agents. We used a simulated driving environment to create recorded scenarios and manipulate the autonomous vehicle to include either an empathetic or non-empathetic agent. The driving interaction is composed of two vehicles approaching an uncontrolled intersection. These scenarios were played to twelve participants while their gaze was recorded to track what the participants were fixating on. The overall intent was to provide an analytical framework as a tool for evaluating autonomous driving features; and in this case, we choose to evaluate how effective it was for vehicles to have empathetic behaviors included in the autonomous vehicle decision making. A t-test analysis of the gaze indicated that empathy did not in fact reduce uncertainty although additional testing of this hypothesis will be needed due to the small sample size.