Co-Designing Interactions between Pedestrians in Wheelchairs and Autonomous Vehicles

Ashratuz Zavin Asha , Christopher Smith , Georgina Freeman , Sean Crump , Sowmya Somanath , Lora Oehlberg , Ehud Sharlin



In the near future, mixed traffic consisting of manual and autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be common. Questions surrounding how vulnerable road users such as pedestrians in wheelchairs (PWs) will make crossing decisions in these new situations are underexplored. We conducted a remote co-design study with one of the researchers of this work who has the lived experience as a powered wheelchair user and applied inclusive design practices. This allowed us to identify and reflect on interface design ideas that can help PWs make safe crossing decisions at intersections. Through an iterative five-week study, we implemented interfaces that can be placed on the vehicle, on the wheelchair, and on the street infrastructure and evaluated them during the co-design sessions using a VR simulator testbed. Informed by our findings, we discuss design insights for implementing inclusive interfaces to improve interactions between autonomous vehicles and vulnerable road users.

Keywords:  Pedestrians In WheelchairsCo DesignAutonomous Vehicles


Ashratuz Zavin Asha, Christopher Smith, Georgina Freeman, Sean Crump, Sowmya Somanath, Lora Oehlberg, Ehud SharlinCo-Designing Interactions between Pedestrians in Wheelchairs and Autonomous VehiclesIn Proceedings of the ACM on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '21)ACM, New York, NY, USA  Page: 1-13.  DOI: 10.1145/3461778.3462068