The Autonomy Effect

In collaboration with Dr. Alex Bigazzi, Gurdiljot Gill, and Emily Bardutz from the REACT Lab at the University of British Columbia, this study investigates the perceived comfort and safety of road users with Autonomous Vehicles (AV). We ask: do people perceive pedestrian interactions with AV as more or less comfortable and safe than interactions with non-AVs, controlling for all other differences? In other words, what is the Autonomy Effect? How does the Autonomy Effect vary among people?  And does the Autonomy Effect determine support for AV policies? 

To answer these questions, we designed a web survey where the participants watch videos of pedestrian interactions with motor vehicles and rate their severity in terms of perceptions of comfort and safety. Since AVs are not currently operating on streets in British Columbia, we used a deception-based design: each participant watches eight videos, in random order, with the four of them randomly identified as “self-driving” vehicles. 

This research project is funded by a grant from TransLink.