USDOT Region V Regional University Transportation Center

Autonomous Vehicle Simulator Experiment

This research study investigates introductory materials’ effects on autonomous vehicle (AV) use, secondary task performance, and AV trust and acceptance. Through this study, we hope to better understand how engagement with secondary tasks while being autonomously driven affects trust and acceptance of AV. Your participation will help contribute to informing best practices in how this technology is presented to its potential users. The study insights can help us better understand the impacts of introductory materials on trust and acceptance of AVs. The study results will also provide insights on human-machine interactions to inform design of these future systems and will aid in the development of consumer education for autonomous vehicles. We will be collecting data under the supervision of Prof. Samuel Labi. Your participation is very much appreciated.

Step 1: Online Survey

To participate in the experiment, you need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and complete a 10-15-minute-long online survey. Participants over the age of 65 will also be asked to complete a short memory impairment screening over the phone, which you can schedule through the online survey. You are required to complete an online survey, which asks for your socio-economic characteristics, travel behavior, preferences and attitude towards different types of automation. If you have a medical history of simulation sickness, you are advised not to participate in this study.

Step 2: Schedule an Appointment

Through a link after you finish the above survey or by clicking the link below, you can schedule your appointment to visit NEXTRANS Center in Purdue Research Park (3000 Kent Avenue) for participating in the experiment. The total experiment time at the Center can take about 2 hours. We recommend you follow the instructions below before visiting to the Center.

Step 3: Before You Participate

Before visiting for the experiment, you need to take the following preparatory actions:

Step 4: Introduction and Practice Session

At the Center, you will be briefed about the experiment process followed by a practice session. Through the practice session, you will get used to operating the simulator and driving in simulated traffic environment. If you feel any simulation sickness (such as dizziness or nausea) during the experiment, you can withdraw from participation.

Step 5: Equipping Biosensors and Baseline Test

After completing the practice session, you will be equipped with biosensor devices, which includes electroencephalogram (EEG), electrocardiogram (ECG) and eye-tracker. This step requires the application of conducting gel between the skin and EEG/ECG sensors. You will be provided with verbal and graphical information on the placement location of ECG sensors (one at lowest left rib and another at right collar bone). You can then choose to either apply the sensors yourself privately in a closed room or ask for supervisor’s help to apply the sensors. Supervisor of the same gender can apply sensors upon request. The sensors data will be calibrated and validated, and a re-adjustment in sensors location will be made if the quality of sensor data is not satisfactory. After equipped with biosensor devices, you will be asked to complete a baseline test for EEG, which will require you to perform some basic tasks.

EEG Eye Tracker
Electroencephalogram (EEG) Eye tracker

Step 6: Driving Simulator Experiment

You will complete four experimental automated driving runs where you will be engaged in a secondary task: one to familiarize yourself with the simulator, and the other three will be the longer main task of the experiment. Before and after each run you may be asked to fill out short surveys, which include questions related to your experience, trust, and acceptance of the automated driving system (ADS).

Step 7: Compensation

Full completion of the study will be compensated between $15 and $45, and partial completion will be compensated with base amount $15 (if participant is not able to complete the entire experiment due to the onset of simulator sickness after the familiarization drive, or other reasons). Your compensation will depends on number of runs completed, each run will add $10 to base compensation amount.

Please contact Dustin Souders ( if you have any questions related to the study.

This study has been approved by the Purdue University Institutional Review Board (IRB) Research Protocol Number 1811021326.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Samuel Labi, Professor of Civil Engineering