AV design pic

Can we design SAV so people are more willing to ride-pool?


Angela Sanguinetti

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Beth Ferguson (Assistant Professor, UC Davis, Department of Design); Dallas Swindle (Industrial Design Consultant); Emily Carlson (Undergraduate Research Assistant, Design); Terri Soth (Undergraduate Research Assistant, Computer Science); Frederick Tan (Undergraduate Research Assistant, Computer Science); Matthew Favetti (Advising and Supporting Programmer)


The research team is thankful for valuable feedback from Faurecia and Ford Motor Company.


The three revolutions in transportation—electrification, automation, and shared mobility—could dramatically reduce global CO2 emissions. However, such positive outcomes will depend in part on increasing riders per vehicle. For example, many factors could inhibit consumers’ willingness to share a ride with a stranger in a driverless robo-taxi, such as sacrifices in comfort and threats to safety and privacy. This project built on the researchers’ past work articulating the potential risks and benefits of the pooled robo-taxi experience and envisioning potential vehicle design solutions and supports, respectively. Researchers developed a 3D model of their robo-taxi design to illustrate all the proposed design features they hypothesized could increase users’ willingness to ride-pool. They also developed and pilotted a custom survey tool that incorporates videos of the 3D robo-taxi model. The tool is designed to test hypotheses about the influence of vehicle design features on prospective users’ willingness to ride-pool. The 3D robo-taxi model can be easily manipulated (adding or subtracting features) and the hypothetical purpose, cost, and duration of ride-hailing trip alternatives can be easily changed based on the research question. This instrument creates virtually limitless opportunities for experimentation to improve our understanding of vehicle and service design features that would promote ride-pooling in robo-taxis. 



Sanguinetti A., Ferguson B., Oka J., Alston-Stepnitz E., Kurani K. (2021) Designing Robo-Taxis to Promote Ride-Pooling. In: Ahram T., Taiar R., Langlois K., Choplin A. (eds) Human Interaction, Emerging Technologies and Future Applications III. IHIET 2020. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 1253. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55307-4_2 Download manuscript


  • Sanguinetti, A., & Ferguson, B. (2020, August). Designing robo-taxis to promote ride-pooling. 3rd International Conference on Human Interaction and Emerging Technologies (IHIET), Talk, Virtual.


  • Sanguinetti, A. (2019, November). Designing automated vehicles to promote ride-pooling. Behavior Energy & Climate Change Conference (BECC), Talk, Sacramento, CA.

 2019 BECC Presentation.pptx

  • Sanguinetti, A. (2019, September). Designing Shared Automated Vehicles for Women. 6th International Conference on Women’s Issues in Transportation (WIiT), Talk, Irvine, CA.