Can Cars Gesture? Expressive Autonomous Vehicles

Paul Schmitt


Location: 122 Gates Hall

Time: 2:40p.m.

Abstract: Imagine this. You’re walking down a street in a busy city and, as you’re about to cross the road, you see a vehicle approaching. Something gives you pause. You look closer, and you realize the driver’s seat is empty. There’s no one behind the wheel, and the car appears to be driving itself. What would you do? How would you feel? Is it safe to cross? Now what if the vehicle was able to express its intent to you, in a way that was almost familiar?

We exposed 60 pedestrians to a variety of AV intention expressions using exaggerated sound, light, and sculpted motion within a virtual intersection environment. We are excited to share our take-aways from applying HRI concepts to a non-anthropomorphic robot.

At Motional our goal is to make driverless vehicles a safe, reliable, and accessible reality. Central to our mission is ensuring society understands how our vehicles fit into their communities, and feels safe in their presence.

Bio: Paul Schmitt believes robots can be more and do more.

Paul is passionate about automated vehicles and what they can mean for our lives, our families, our neighborhoods…for us as a society. Paul knows that when an automated system is introduced in society, it can be confusing at best. So his mission is shaping AVs to ensure we in society understand AVs intentions and feel safe in their presence.

    • At Motional, Paul is Automated Vehicle Stack Chief Architect and Expressive Robotics Research Lead.
      • Medium Blog Post: Building Trust in Driverless Vehicles
      • Building Trust Video
    • Paul volunteers at MassRobotics where he is proud to work with the automated vehicle community to promote and advance the development and testing of automated vehicle technology in New England. In this capacity, Paul has participated in AV policy discussions at the White House twice.
    • At iRobot Paul was Systems Engineering Lead for several exciting connected Roombas that are now in millions of homes around the globe.
    • At Volvo Research, Paul was the North America Intelligent Vehicle and Automation Manager and oversaw a $2m USDOT funded Truck Platooning research project. Paul was guest speaker at the 2013 Automated Vehicle Symposium.
    • At Ford, Paul was Active Safety Systems Engineer and recipient of the prestigious Henry Ford Technology Award and the Ford Technical Excellence Executive Award.

Paul’s research thesis at Georgia Tech was in mobile robot path planning. Paul has ten patents to date.

Paul Schmitt Headshot