Nissan has been exploring the idea of robots as driving aids, first demonstrating the PIVO robot at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show and PIVO 2 at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. The robot consists of the top of an R2D2-like unit, with an expressive face, torso rotation, and speech output. It is positioned on top of the instrument panel of a unique vehicle that has 4 steerable wheels and a rotatable passenger cabin. This report examines 4 topics related to driver interaction with robots, summarized below. 1. Robot communication with drivers: If a single voice is to be selected, a female voice is preferred, but a voice that can be tailored to the task is even better. Nonverbal cues from a robot such as facial expressions (identified using Ekman’s Facial Action Coding System) and eye contact help indicate whose turn it is to speak in robot-driver conversations and help communicate what the robot is saying. 2. Robot appearance: Physical attributes, in particular, chin and forehead dimensions, and width of the face affect the extent to which advice from robots is accepted. However, given the “uncanny alley” phenomenon, making a robot more human-like is not always better. 3. Robot behavior: Desired behavior is task dependent. Standard personality characteristics such as emotional stability, extroversion, agreeableness, etc., also apply to robots and can be assessed using standard psychological scales. 4. Robot acceptance: Acceptance of robots varies with general attitudes toward technology, culture (surprisingly, Japanese are not more accepting), and decreases with age. This can be assessed using NARS (Negative Attitudes Towards Robots Scale)
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