Methodological Framework for Modelling and Empirical Approaches (Deliverable D1.1 in the H2020 MSCA ITN project SHAPE-IT)
Report, 2021

The progress in technology development over the past decades, both with respect to software and hardware, offers the vision of automated vehicles as means of achieving zero fatalities in traffic. However, the promises of this new technology – an increase in road safety, traffic efficiency, and user comfort – can only be realized if this technology is smoothly introduced into the existing traffic system with all its complexities, constraints, and requirements. SHAPE- IT will contribute to this major undertaking by addressing research questions relevant for the development and introduction of automated vehicles in urban traffic scenarios. Previous research has pointed out several research areas that need more attention for a successful implementation and deployment of human-centred vehicle automation in urban environments.

In SHAPE-IT, for example, a better understanding of human behaviour and the underlying psychological mechanisms will lead to improved models of human behaviour that can help to predict the effects of automated systems on human behaviour already during system development. Such models can also be integrated into the algorithms of automated vehicles, enabling them to better understand the human interaction partners’ behaviours.

Further, the development of vehicle automation is much about technology (software and hardware), but the users will be humans and they will interact with humans both inside and outside of the vehicle. To be successful in the development of automated vehicles functionalities, research must be performed on a variety of aspects. Actually, a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers, bringing together expertise and background from various scientific fields related to traffic safety, human factors, human-machine interaction design and evaluation, automation, computational modelling, and artificial intelligence, is likely needed to consider the human-technology aspects of vehicle automation.

Accordingly, SHAPE-IT has recruited fifteen PhD candidates (Early Stage Researchers – ESRs), that work together to facilitate this integration of automated vehicles into complex urban traffic by performing research to support the development of transparent, cooperative, accepted, trustworthy, and safe automated vehicles. With their (and their supervisors’) different scientific background, the candidates bring different theoretical concepts and methodological approaches to the project. This interdisciplinarity of the project team offers the unique possibility for each PhD candidate to address research questions from a broad perspective – including theories and methodological approaches of other interrelated disciplines. This is the main reason why SHAPE-IT has been funded by the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) program that is aimed to train early state researchers in multidisciplinary aspects of research including transferable skills. With the unique scope of SHAPE-IT, including the human-vehicle perspective, considering different road-users (inside and outside of the vehicle), addressing for example trust, transparency, and safety, and including a wide range of methodological approaches, the project members can substantially contribute to the development and deployment of safe and appreciated vehicle automation in the cities of the future.

To achieve the goal of interdisciplinary research, it is necessary to provide the individual PhD candidate with a starting point, especially on the different and diverse methodological approaches of the different disciplines. The empirical, user-centred approach for the development and evaluation of innovative automated vehicle concepts is central to SHAPE- IT. This deliverable (D1.1 “Methodological Framework for Modelling and Empirical Approaches”) provides this starting point. That is, this document provides a broad overview of approaches and methodologies used and developed by the SHAPE-IT ESRs during their research. The SHAPE-IT PhD candidates, as well as other researchers and developers outside of SHAPE-IT, can use this document when searching for appropriate methodological approaches, or simply get a brief overview of research methodologies often employed in automated vehicle research.

The first chapter of the deliverable shortly describes the major methodological approaches to collect data relevant for investigating road user behaviour. Each subchapter describes one approach, ranging from naturalistic driving studies to controlled experiments in driving simulators, with the goal to provide the unfamiliar reader with a broad overview of the approach, including its scope, the type of data collected, and its limitations. Each subchapter ends with recommendations for further reading – literature that provide much more detail and examples.

The second chapter explains four different highly relevant tools for data collection, such as interviews, questionnaires, physiological measures, and as other current tools (the Wizard of Oz paradigm and Augmented and Virtual Reality). As in the first chapter this chapter provides the reader with information about advantages and disadvantages of the different tools and with proposed further readings.

The third chapter deals with computational models of human/agent interaction and presents in four subchapters different modelling approaches, ranging from models based on psychological mechanisms, rule-based and artificial intelligence models to simulation models of traffic interaction.

The fourth chapter is devoted to Requirements Engineering and the challenge of communicating knowledge (e.g., human factors) to developers of automated vehicles. When forming the SHAPE-IT proposal it was identified that there is a lack of communication of human factors knowledge about the highly technical development of automated vehicles. This is why it is highly important that the SHAPE-IT ESRs get training in requirement engineering. Regardless of the ESRs working in academia or industry after their studies it is important to learn how to communicate and disseminate the findings to engineers.

The deliverable ends with the chapter “Method Champions”. Here the expertise and association of the different PhD candidates with the different topics are made explicit to facilitate and encourage networking between PhDs with special expertise and those seeking support, especially with regards to methodological questions.


Nikol Figalova

University of Ulm

Naomi Mbelekani

Technical University of Munich

Chi Zhang

University of Gothenburg

Yue Yang

University of Leeds

Chen Peng

University of Leeds

Mohamed Nasser

University of Ulm

Liu Yuan-Cheng

Technical University of Munich

Amna Pir Muhammad

University of Gothenburg

Wilbert Tabone

Delft University of Technology

Siri Hegna Berge

Delft University of Technology

Sarang Jokhio

University of Ulm

Xiaolin He

Delft University of Technology

Amir Hossein Kalantari

University of Leeds

Ali Mohammadi

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Xiaomi Yang

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Jonas Bärgman

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Martin Baumann

University of Ulm

Supporting the interaction of Humans and Automated vehicles: Preparing for the Environment of Tomorrow (Shape-IT)

European Commission (EC) (EC/H2020/860410), 2019-10-01 -- 2023-09-30.

Subject Categories

Interaction Technologies

Software Engineering

Human Computer Interaction




SHAPE-IT Consortium

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