The rise of autonomous systems in cities, such as automated vehicles (AVs), requires new approaches for prototyping and evaluating how people interact with those systems through context-based user interfaces, such as external human-machine interfaces (eHMIs). In this paper, we present a comparative study of three prototype representations (real-world VR, computer-generated VR, real-world video) of an eHMI in a mixed-methods study with 42 participants. Quantitative results show that while the real-world VR representation results in higher sense of presence, no significant differences in user experience and trust towards the AV itself were found. However, interview data shows that participants focused on different experiential and perceptual aspects in each of the prototype representations. These differences are linked to spatial awareness and perceived realism of the AV behaviour and its context, affecting in turn how participants assess trust and the eHMI. The paper offers guidelines for prototyping and evaluating context-based interfaces through simulations.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2021.acm.org/)