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  • Johanna Trager
  • L. Kalová
  • Raphaela Pagany
  • Wolfgang Dorner

Warning apps for road safety – a technological and economical perspective for autonomous driving

In: International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction vol. 37 pg. 363-377.

  • (2021)

DOI: 10.1080/10447318.2020.1860545

In the last decade, mobile warning apps and security services for drivers were developed, driven by the evolving market for smartphone-based applications. Now, in times of emerging autonomous vehicles, the value of warning detection in form of warning apps for road transport needs to be reappraised. In our study, we address the following questions: Does this kind of application have a technological and economical perspective for future mobility? How will the interaction between drivers, information systems (smartphone or onboard computer), and driving systems change? In this article, we bring together the aspects to consider in terms of technology development and business modeling amidst a changing human-computer interaction (HCI) toward autonomous driving. We provide a comprehensive picture of how technology-driven applications, such as warning detection apps, could develop their economic and technological impact within the transition of individual transport. By classifying the warning apps available in German-speaking regions it became apparent that apps exist for diverse areas of risk. Some of them are currently under development, others are already in use, but still with minor operational deficits. We found out that till today, the majority of warning services provides either an interim solution with a standalone mobile app, or a first test stage approach for prospective mobility solutions, only working on the basis of a car-to-car or car-to-pedestrian communication. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of warning apps was exemplarily proven by a survey about the Wildwarner, an app for wildlife-vehicle collision warnings. Looking ahead, warning-service-usage scenarios (1) without driving assistance, (2) with driving assistance and (3) fully autonomous driving are gone through, showing the still important but altered interactions between humans, warning information systems, and automated driving systems. From an economical perspective, already existing business models for warning services are identified and evaluated according to whether they could be transferred to business models for future mobility under changing ways of user interaction. The analysis of existing established warning apps indicates that more integrated approaches combining different warning types and delivering them as services either for autonomous vehicle navigation or human drivers ought to be supported for increasing road safety.
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