Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Industrial Design


Industrial Design

First Advisor

Michael Lye

Second Advisor

Jerome Arul

Third Advisor

Pierre Beaudreau


This thesis is an investigation of the user experience design necessary for a fully autonomous vehicle that would enable trust and adoption of autonomous vehicle-based services. Autonomous vehicles are destined to revolutionize mobility, yet few companies are focusing on how people will best use these new autonomous-based services. This thesis used various forms of user testing to understand user’s expectations and hesitations for riding in an autonomous vehicle. These tests included improv workshops, surveys, interviews and a simulated autonomous vehicle service ride-along. Research revealed that user’s primary concerns were travel time, comfort (spatial and privacy) and personal safety. These concerns culminated as a series of proposals for how vehicles will communicate trip status to its passengers. Establishing a trustworthy service that would lead to adoption is possible if designers treat the design of experiences as ‘interactions with robots’, not as cars.



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