@CITY - Automated Driving in the City: Communication with other Road Users

Below you will find a short summary of the project. For further information please contact the project managers via the contact button on the right side.


The @CITY research initiative brings together 15 partners from the automotive industry, supply industry, software development and universities. Subdivided into the two projects @CITY and @CITY-AF, concepts, technologies and prototypical applications are developed, enabling automated driving in complex urban areas. The aim is to make the city traffic of the future as safe, comfortable and efficient as possible for all road users. The research initiative is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) with a funding volume of around 20 million euros.

The Institute of Ergonomics is represented in the project @CITY-AF and will conduct research in the subproject “Human-Vehicle-Interaction” . This subproject deals with the interaction between the three protagonists: vehicle users, automated vehicles and other road users. The Institute of Ergonomics will work on the question of how everyday human forms of communication in traffic (eye contact, gestures etc.) can be “translated” to automated systems without misunderstandings.

Further information about the project can be found at https://www.atcity-online.de/


In order to maintain the traffic flow and to resolve (possible) conflicts, road users communicate through explicit and implicit signals continuously. Although communication between different road users is typical for the urban traffic area, it is still only partially researched. In the future scenario of highly automated driving (SAE L3), the vehicle has to assume the communicative function of a human driver. This results in far-reaching questions regarding the future communication between vehicle users, automated vehicles and other road users in mixed traffic in urban areas.


To investigate these issues, the following task steps in the @CITY project are being worked on: First of all, scenarios in which communication between road users (including car drivers, pedestrians and cyclists) occurs are comprehensively described. Subsequently, relevant communication channels for the transmission of information between automated vehicles and other road users are identified. The knowledge gained should be transferred to the design of an automated communication concept and implemented prototypically. Finally, user studies should be carried out taking into account comprehensibility, security, acceptance by the users and targeting of communication in urban transport.


Use cases and scenarios of communication between road users in urban traffic areas were documented in a catalogue. The detailed analysis of selected scenarios provides communication sequences that serve as a starting point for the human-centred development of external human-machine interfaces on the vehicle.


Joisten, P., Liu, Z., Theobald, N., Webler, A., & Abendroth, B. (2021). Communication of Automated Vehicles and Pedestrian Groups: An Intercultural Study on Pedestrians’ Street Crossing Decisions. In: S. Schneegass, B. Pfleging & D. Kern (Hrsg.), Tagungsband Mensch und Computer 2021 (MuC '21). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 49-53. https://doi.org/10.1145/3473856.3474004

Joisten, P., Niessen, P. & Abendroth, B. (2021). Pedestrians' Attitudes Towards Automated Vehicles: A Qualitative Study Based on Interviews in Germany. In: N.L. Black, W.P. Neumann & I. Noy (Hrsg.), Proceedings of the 21st Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2021). Lectures Notes in Networks and Systems, Vol. 221. Cham: Springer.

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Joisten, P., Theobald, N., Schwindt, S., Walter, J. & Abendroth, B. (2020). Designing the Communication with Automated Vehicles: The Case of Elderly Pedestrians. In: Workshop on Inclusive Communication between Automated Vehicles and Vulnerable Road Users. In conjunction with MobileHCI 2020.

Joisten, P., Freund, A., & Abendroth, B. (2020). Gestaltungsdimensionen der Kommunikation von automatisierten Fahrzeugen und anderen Verkehrsteilnehmenden. Zeitschrift für Arbeitswissenschaft, 74(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41449-020-00199-7

Joisten, P., Alexandi, E., Drews, R., Klassen, L., Petersohn, P., Pick, A., Schwindt, S., & Abendroth, B. (2020). Displaying Vehicle Driving Mode – Effects on Pedestrian Behavior and Perceived Safety. In: Ahram, Tareq; Karwowski, Waldemar; Pickl, Stefan; Taiar, Redha (Hrsg.) Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Human Systems Engineering and Design (IHSED2019): Future Trends and Applications, Universität der Bundeswehr München, 16.-18. September 2019, München.

Joisten, P., Müller, A., Walter, J., Abendroth, B., & Bruder, R. (2019). Neue Ansätze der Human Factors Forschung im Zeitalter des hochautomatisierten Fahrens. Darmstadt, In: Mensch und Fahrzeug, Technische Universität Darmstadt, 02.-03. April 2019, S. 69-89.

Joisten, P., Barden, J., Becker, A., & Abendroth, B. (2019). Wie wollen Fußgänger mit einem automatisierten Bus kommunizieren? Ergebnisse einer Befragung im Testfeld Bad Birnbach. In: Bericht zum 65. Arbeitswissenschaftlichen Kongress, 27. Februar – 1. März 2019, Dortmund, GfA-Press.