01.08.2023 & 02.08.2023

Second observation study in Sedelhöfe underpass

After two days of intensive observation in Ulm, the behavior of pedestrians and robots is evaluated – and situations with conflict potential are identified.

48 hours of video material and exciting insights into the coordination of humans and robots in public spaces: this is the result of intensive observation of passers-by in the immediate vicinity of autonomous cleaning and sweeping robots over two days in the first week of August in the Sedelh̦fe underpass in Ulm Рwith seven high-resolution cameras.

Promoting harmonious coexistence: human-centered interaction design

“We have once again gathered exciting insights around the question of how humans and robots coordinate in so-called shared space in public spaces,” says Linda Miller, a doctoral student at the University of Ulm who is leading the study. It’s also about how harmonious coexistence and juxtaposition can be promoted through inclusive, human-centered interaction and communication design.

A total of 48 hours of video material, which was recorded on August 1 and 2 and comprises more than a terabyte, must now be evaluated and analyzed. In this way, the reactions and behaviors of passers-by and robots will be evaluated and situations that harbor conflict potential will be identified.

Challenges in summer: diversity of passers-by and robot interaction

As was demonstrated shortly after the start of the vacations near the main train station, a number of situations arise, especially in the summertime, that the autonomous robots must successfully master: Numerous people and groups are on the move – families with small and larger children as well as vacationers with suitcases make their way to the station or into the city.

The results from the study will be published during the course of the project and will be used to iteratively improve the interaction concept of the autonomous robots. Further observations as part of ZEN-MRI are planned in 2024 and 2025.

The next study on gaze behavior will follow later this year. If you have always wanted to see one of the robots up close, you can sign up for the mailing list at https://www.unipark.de/uc/zen-mri to be invited to studies or send an email to zen-mri@uni-ulm.de if you are interested.