Automated Vehicles (AVs) are expected to alter traffic for all road users: from making traffic safer due to less human failure [13] over enabling novel non-driving related tasks within the vehicle [21] to altered communication needs for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or bicyclists [14].

External Human-Machine Interfaces (eHMIs) are seen as one solution to overcome the current availability of human drivers to engage with the outside world, for example, via gestures, eye-gaze, or speech [12]. Previous work on eHMIs evaluated numerous aspects of this communication: design spaces were created [7], the environment for example in the form of the sidewalk was included in the communication [5], the lack of scalability evaluations were shown [10], construction site scenarios were investigated [6], systematic comparisons were conducted [17], and anthropomorphic characteristics were introduced [3, 4].

Despite this work, the communication between AVs and vulnerable road users, especially with a focus on inclusion, is lacking [8, 9].

Especially Vulnerable Road Users

Vulnerable road users (VRUs) can be categorized as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists as done by the World Health Organization [19]. In general, VRUs are defined as not having a protective outside shield [25].

Holländer et al. [14] argued that VRUs are more diverse in the context of traffic and Human-Computer Interaction and, therefore, defined this group more granular. The first distinguishing factor is motorization (motorcyclist, personal conveyance versus pedestrian, personal conveyance, cyclist). Every defined class can be attributed “especially vulnerable”. This can be due to age or disability [14]. In this workshop, we want to focus on this characteristic and help in making (future) traffic more accessible.

While it is already crucial to make traffic accessible for all people and their abilities, it will only become more important in the future with an aging population and better chances of surviving accidents and diseases. At the same time, the demographic changes already make it difficult to have enough medical and care staff to support patients more than is essential for survival. Thus, inclusive automated traffic is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but also necessary to keep people with disabilities as independent as possible because of a lack of care staff that would be needed to help with basic but important tasks like shopping to getting to a doctor’s appointment.

Automated Vehicles

With ongoing deployment of AVs [20], traffic is expected to change to be more automated in the near future. Besides technical challenges of automation [15], the interaction with other road users, like pedestrians or cyclists [24] depends on being efficient [16] and trusted [26]. These needs are especially important to empower people with special needs in daily life activities [1, 23], including using shared spaces. Lower access to mobility reduces the possibility to socialize, to have access to health care, to go shopping, or even to gain employment [2, 23]. Therefore, improved automation is seen as a key enabler to enhance participation of people with special needs in everyday life.