Encounters with a seemingly autonomous sidewalk delivery vehicle: interviews with incidentally copresent pedestrians
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Although several studies have explored people’s opinions on sidewalk delivery vehicles, these have all been on the basis of hypothetical interactions. This study is the first in exploring people’s opinions after having unexpectedly encountered a seemingly autonomous sidewalk delivery vehicle in person. 28 semi-structured interviews with incidentally copresent persons (InCoPs) walking down a footpath (n=46) were conducted. The research goal is twofold: to investigate underlying reasons for the correlation between perceived threat and existence acceptance found in earlier research, and to explore emergent comments made by pedestrians after the encounter. Very little instances of perceived physical and emotional threat surfaced. On the subject of cognitive threat, opinions varied. People disagreed on the subject of expected behavior and who should have priority over whom. The amount of existence acceptance was high. Positive opinions were on the convenience of the technology and reduction of CO2-emissions. Negative opinions were mainly on indirect topics such as technology causing job loss and the direction of technological change as a whole.