AV Rapid Research

Egocentric vs. Allocentric frames of reference

This project took place at the VEMI Lab during the annual Rapid Research Week which is designed to challenge students to complete an entire research study in a single work week. This study in particular was designed to find a passenger's default frame of reference (FoR) when riding in a fully autonomous vehicle (AV). Since standard vehicles have all the seats facing the front of the vehicle, a passenger and car would have an aligned FoR, but in AVs, some seats will have passengers facing perpendicular or opposite the direction of travel.

A virtual cityscape was designed in Unity in correlation with VEMI's simulator, MOISIN. During the study, participants sat in each of the seats while the vehicle moved through the virtual cityscape. The vehicle stopped 6 times and at each stop, participants were asked "What was the direction of travel?"

By gaining a better understanding of a rider's FoR, we can better design the User Interface to interact with humans. For example, if the AV were to direct a rider to "Exit on the right."