First version of possible mitigation strategies to enhance the public acceptance of Connected Automated Vehicles (CAV)

SUaaVE partners have formulated a first version of possible mitigation strategies to enhance the public acceptance of Connected Automated Vehicles (CAV) in the Deliverable D1.5. We first briefly discuss the findings of previous acceptance research within SUaaVE, and the mitigation strategies defined based on these studies (as also discussed in D1.3). Then, we present two new acceptance studies that have not been discussed elsewhere.
One of these recent studies focused on cyclists specifically. In the Large Scale Survey (D1.2) we found that potential users of CAV evaluate it as more acceptable if they believe CAV is environmentally sustainable. We investigated whether environmental sustainability of CAV is also important for cyclists interacting with CAV. Additionally, we investigated if showing
CAV as environmentally friendly could elicit a halo effect, making CAV seem more safe and trustworthy. We manipulated the environmental sustainability of CAV by adding a sustainability logo (of which the effectiveness was pilot tested beforehand). Adding a
sustainability logo to CAV did elicit a small halo effect as trust in CAV technology was slightly higher for CAV with a logo compared to without a logo. We additionally found trends that CAV with a logo was rated higher on acceptability and perceived safety, although these results were non-significant. We did find that cyclists who rated CAV as more environmentally friendly also rated CAV as more acceptable, safer, and trustworthy. It is possible a stronger induction of environmental sustainability may also lead to a stronger halo effect.

The second new study focused on anthropomorphism. We investigated whether presenting a CAV in a more human-like manner (referred to as ALFRED from now on) compared to presenting a CAV in a regular, more machine-like manner would increase the acceptability of ALFRED and would make participants view ALFRED’s perceived characteristics more positively. Additionally, we tested if these effects were stronger for people scoring high on need for control. As expected, we found that anthropomorphising CAV as ALFRED increased perceived status-enhancement, environmental sustainability, and trust in the vehicle’s technology, compared to a machine-like CAV. Additionally, we found that participants who had a greater tendency to anthropomorphise the vehicle also rated the vehicle as more
acceptable. Lastly, participants scoring high on need for control rated the vehicle as more acceptable, safer, pleasurable, convenient, and environmentally friendly if the vehicle was
rated high on anthropomorphism. These results show that anthropomorphising CAV may have positive effects on how the vehicle is perceived, especially among people with a high
need for control. It is possible a stronger manipulation instead of a textual one (for example through giving CAV a human voice, using an anthropomorphised icon or mascot for CAV, etc.) may elicit stronger positive effects.

Based on these two new acceptance studies we formulate additional potential mitigation strategies to enhance public   acceptance of CAV. We conclude that several options to enhance acceptance of CAV exist.