The relation between humans’ interactive behavior and fixation behavior in a coupled virtual reality driving simulator

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In order to design safe and effective interactions between autonomous vehicles (AVs) and human road users, it is essential to understand the mechanisms underlying human-human merging behavior. Driving simulator experiments can be used to study these mechanisms, but previous research has primarily focused on the behavior of individual drivers rather than the dynamics of interactions. In addition, current experimental scenarios and data analysis tools do not adequately capture interactive humanhuman merging behavior. To address these issues, I propose an experimental framework featuring a simplified highway-merging scenario that can facilitate human factors research on merging interactions. In a case study with fourteen participants, I used the framework in a coupled virtual reality driving simulator to show a relation between participants’ interactive behavior and fixation behavior. This work shows how to better understand human-human merging interactions, which is essential for developing AVs that can safely and successfully interact with other road users.