Chaiwoo Lee and Bryan Reimer Present at Lifesavers Conference

by Adam Felts

AgeLab Research Scientists Chaiwoo Lee and Bryan Reimer served as panelists for the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, discussing consumer knowledge of self-driving cars and a communication challenge for autonomous vehicles and other road users.

Dr. Lee participated in a conference panel titled Vehicle Automation: Bridging the Knowledge Gap, presenting findings on consumer attitudes and levels of knowledge about autonomous vehicles based on three years of data from an AgeLab annual consumer survey.

Over that period, there have been increases in consumer confusion and misconceptions about the availability of autonomous vehicles. This perception may be explained by a shift in the consumer definition of autonomous vehicles to include some driver involvement in operating the vehicle. Consumers who believe that autonomous vehicles are currently available are more likely to be willing to use the technology. However, that trend in willingness to use may be driven by believers in the availability of the technology having a looser conception of what “self-driving” entails.

More broadly, willingness to use an autonomous vehicle has decreased among consumers over the last three years.

Dr. Reimer served on a panel titled Car Talk: Decoding the Actions of Vehicle Technologies. The subject of the discussion was communication between autonomous vehicles and human road users. In the road environment, drivers, pedestrians, and other road users rely partly on other users’ subtle non-verbal cues to predict their intended behaviors. In the absence of a human vehicle operator, how can an autonomous vehicle signal its “intentions” to other road users?

Learn more about the Lifesavers conference here.

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. Currently he is involved in research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He also manages the AgeLab blog and newsletter. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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