Shifting perspectives on autonomous vehicles.

Using laser scanning technology to engage the public via the analysis of journeys seen ‘through the eyes’ of autonomous vehicles.

Keywords: Autonomous vehicles, Engagement, Human-machine coexistence, Automation, Urban space


It is likely that Autonomous Vehicles will have significant social, cultural, spatial and environmental implications and that the interaction between humans, automated vehicles and physical environment will provide an array of challenges. This paper aims to explore the use of innovative visualisation approaches, to foster discussion on possible scenarios involving AVs. It is argued that such an approach might be used to help conceptualise human experiences with the potential to enhance understanding of the complex human-machine associations.

Presenting journeys from different perspectives and reconceptualising the context through the eyes of AVs emphasized the nuances of experience between the machines, urban space and human bodies. Unexpected user-technology interactions will emerge as humans are not always passive followers and can be apprehensive when it comes to accepting such a novel technology as self-driving vehicles. 

The focus applied in the methodology and data capture was on inclusivity of data, showing not only movement but also noise and human experience of a space. The integration of AVs on public roads will rely on technical innovation to ensure that vehicles can operate safely yet, the study of the perceptual and ethical effects of technology and potential influences on society via engaging the public will help to manage expectations and create platforms for mutual learning. 


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Author Biographies

Daria Belkouri, Robert Gordon University

Architect, research assistant and PhD student at The Scott Sutherland Shool of Architecture and Built Environment in Aberdeen. Her intrests include visualising and concentrating on interconnections between people, cities and digital technologies; aspects of human-centred design and interconnections between digital cities, art and architecture.

Richard Laing, Robert Gordon University

Professor of Built Environment Visualisation at The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment.

His research concentrates on the subject of visualisation and its use within public evaluation of open space, built heritage and urban design. His skills in relation to visual environmental valuation have developed through leading significant and large-scale externally funded research projects.

He has been an active participant in research concerning the evaluation of public open space, and the manner in which such studies can benefit from information visualisation (IV). He has co-chaired BuiltViz in 2007-present.

Richard is a Fellow of the RSA, a Chartered Surveyor and is a trained chairman and assessor for the RICS APC. He has represented the RICS on the European Construction Technology Platform, and is a member of EPSRC peer review college.

David Gray, Robert Gordon University

Professor of Transport Policy and Academic Strategic Lead for Research in the School of Creative and Cultural Business at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. His research interests include Transport in remote, rural and island communities; Transport, energy and climate change; Transport policy in Scotland.


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How to Cite
BelkouriD., LaingR., & GrayD. (2022). Shifting perspectives on autonomous vehicles. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 167-179.
Living and Walking in Cities 2021