Mixing drive-along ethnography and WOz testing on public roads: the example of control hand-over experience
Thomas Lindgren (Halmstad University)
Paper short abstract:
In this paper, we examine how an anthropological understanding of driving can benefit from engaging with engineering and design based experimental testing in the context of developing autonomous driving cars for future mobility.
Paper long abstract:
In this paper, we examine how an anthropological understanding of driving can benefit from engaging with engineering and design based experimental testing. We suggest that blending ethnographic practice with other disciplinary practices is productive of new modes of understanding how people might experience possible future Autonomous Driving (AD) cars. Generally, experimental User Experience (UX) research within the development of AD cars is still dominated by engineering methodologies but lately, design-anthropological approaches have started to be incorporated for a more human-centric and participatory ways to design for future mobility. Wizard of Oz (WOz) testing is a method that allows people to experience AD in the presence of a safety driver who takes over control to simulate the car driving itself. By using a Volvo XC90, we combined experimental UX testing and design anthropology. Family home visits and drive-along ethnography were combined with WOz testing on public roads, in order to investigate how people might experience AD cars as part of their morning commutes. By focusing on the moment of handing over control to the car, we show the mutual benefit of building collaborative testing practices. From the perspective of anthropology, the AD experience gives participants a speculative platform where they can reflect on how various control handover solutions might fit into their own driving practices. From the perspective of engineering testing, speculative future ethnography provides foresight into a variety of existing and possible future driving routines, making the control handover development more attentive to a diversity of routines and expectations.
A new anthropology of automobility