Distinguished Robotics Colloquium: Human interactions with autonomous vehicles: Calibrating trust

Friday, February 10, 2023
2:00 p.m.
JMP 2116

Human interactions with autonomous vehicles: Calibrating trust

Streaming Link

Dawn M. Tilbury
Inaugural Chair of the Robotics Department
University of Michigan


Even as vehicles become more automated with technology advances, they will still need to interact with humans. Both humans inside the vehicle, who may need to take over the driving, and humans outside the vehicle, such as pedestrians crossing the street, must be considered. How much humans trust the automated vehicles (AVs), by making themselves vulnerable to the AVs’ actions, can affect safety and performance. If drivers overtrust the AV’s capabilities, the risks of system failures or accidents increase. On the other hand, if drivers undertrust the AV, they will not fully leverage the benefits of the AV’s functionalities. Therefore, both types of trust miscalibrations (under- and overtrust) are undesirable. We consider the problem of maintaining drivers’ trust in an automated vehicle at a calibrated level—in real time, while they are operating the vehicle. We also describe how pedestrians interact with AVs while crossing the street, and what factors affect their trust. We develop models that can predict pedestrian trajectories that can be used by the AV controller to plan safe paths. Results from human subject experiments (with simulated AVs) will be presented. A discussion of future research directions and practical considerations will conclude the talk.


Dawn M. Tilbury is the inaugural Chair of the Robotics Department at the University of Michigan, where she has been on the faculty since 1995. Her research interests lie broadly in the area of control systems, including applications to robotics and manufacturing systems.  From 2017-2021, she was the Assistant Director for Engineering at the National Science Foundation, where she oversaw a federal budget of nearly $1 billion annually, while maintaining her position at the University of Michigan. She has published more than 200 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings. She received her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. She is a Fellow of both IEEE and ASME, and a Life Member of SWE.

Host: Dinesh Manocha

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