Who really wants automated vehicles? Determinant factors of acceptability profiles in Portugal

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Liliana CunhaDaniel SilvaDaniela MonteiroSara FerreiraAntónio LoboAntónio CoutoAnabela SimõesCatarina Neto

Abstract: The perspective of automated vehicles (AVs) entering the public space is at the center of the current debate about the “mobility of the future”. Several studies have focused on drivers’ perceptions related to the use of AVs, exploring the “acceptability” and acknowledging that this is not an individual process [1]. Acceptability is constructed in a particular socio-organizational context, whose underlying conditions pose different determinant factors of usage [2]. The debate on the acceptability vs. acceptance of technologies requires the assumption of a psychological standpoint: “acceptability” is a cognitive representation that users have before using technology, i.e., it is an a priori phenomenon [3], whereas “acceptance” is an a posteriori pragmatic evaluation, inasmuch as it is “situated” in a real activity [4]. Hence, the “acceptance” is associated with an “operative representation” developed in and by the action. Bearing in mind such conceptual frontiers between the two constructs, it should be noted a point in common: they are subjective representations related to different sociodemographic characteristics and inscribed in specific conditions (e.g., driving preferences, benefits/concerns associated with AVs). Considering the fact the use of fully AVs is not yet possible, the study we present sought to explore the acceptability of AVs in the frame of a Portuguese research project. The AUTODRIVING project combines an extensive survey on the viewpoints of representative groups of drivers with a driving simulator study to evaluate driver-vehicle interaction under automated driving scenarios. A self-administrated questionnaire was developed aiming at exploring Portuguese users’ representations about the AVs, considering their expectations (e.g., the possibility to perform secondary tasks during automated driving), concerns (e.g., loss of control over the driving), levels of trust, and the benefits and risks users most associate with AVs. 500 portuguese participants (49.3% female), aged 18-81 years (M=42.16, SD=41.39), responded to the questionnaire.AVs acceptability was assessed through four items: “consider to using a fully AV”; “would prefer a fully AV to a non-automated vehicle”; “comfortable with family using an AV”; and “consider using a fully automated bus”.A two-phase cluster analysis approach was used to identify patterns of AVs acceptability. Firstly, a hierarchical method was used to identify possible appropriate solutions for the number of clusters. Secondly, the suitability of the different solutions for the number of clusters was tested with non-hierarchical cluster analyses. Four distinct clusters were identified and named based on the pattern of acceptability and their characterization regarding demographics, self-perception of technology use, driving and AVs experience. The clusters we found are: - Resigned: AVs are convenient… but are they safe? These participants consider using AVs and a fully automated bus more than average, but don’t prefer AVs to non-automated vehicles and are less comfortable than average with family using an AV. - Suspicious: AV… maybe not, we still need to know better this technology These respondents present all acceptability variables slightly below average, but a predominance of automated bus rejection; - Enthusiasts: AV, certainly yes, and benefit to its full potentialParticipants whose acceptability is above average for all the variables; this group has a predominance of higher income participants, that live in predominantly urban areas, are willing to experiment with new technologies and would like to perform all secondary tasks while driving (e.g., reading); - Objectors: No AV… we want to keep driving pleasureRespondents who score below average in all acceptability variables; this cluster has a predominance of participants 50 years old or older, who live in predominantly rural areas, prefer to wait some time to try new technologies and whose car doesn’t have any driving aid system.These quantitative findings were complemented with 7 focus groups, involving both professional and regular drivers, in order to set a “user model” that could be mobilized in the current debate about the conditions that may contribute to the acceptance of AVs. [1] Barcenilla, J., & Bastien J. (2009) L’acceptabilité des nouvelles technologies: Quelles relations avec l’ergonomie, l’utilisabilité et l’expérience utilisateur? Le Travail Humain, 72, 311–331.[2] Dubois, M., & Bobillier Chaumon, M. (2009). L'acceptabilité des technologies : bilans et nouvelles perspectives. Le travail humain, 72, 383-395.[3] Renaud, J. (2020). Évaluer l’utilisabilité, l’utilité et l’acceptabilité d’un outil didactique au cours du processus de conception continuée dans l’usage. Éducation & didactique, 14, 65-84. [4] Bobillier Chaumon, M. (2016). Acceptation située des TIC dans et par l’activité : Premiers étayages pour une clinique de l’usage. Psych Trav. et Organisat., 22, 4-21.

Keywords: Automated Vehicles, Acceptability, Cluster Analysis, Technology, Activity Perspective

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001018

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