When it comes to the design of autonomous vehicles, experts say one area that remains wide open for exploration is the shape and form of the interior.
A central focus of current research is the user experience, specifically the type and amount of information an autonomous vehicle should provide to the rider.
"It's become very clear through student work that occupants of an AV feel much safer and will maintain trust over time if there is some visibility into what the machine is thinking," said Todd Masilko, an instructor at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.
"There's a whole new set of interface conventions that we have not figured out yet."
That's why Volvo Trucks, which is working on autonomous platooning of semi trucks, involves customers and drivers as it develops and validates its user interface, said Johan Larsson, director of autonomous solutions for Volvo Trucks North America.
Bringing drivers and fleet managers into the development of advanced driver assistance systems has been critical in making it easy to understand what the system can automate as well as its limitations, he said.
"The system should aid the driver with clear information on the surroundings," he said. "We learn what messages are important to drivers by listening to their input and experiences during testing."
Currently, Volvo's communications to drivers focus on big events, such as changes to speed and distance between vehicles.
"We've added a specific display in the trucks' dashboards to deliver information to the drivers on when to engage platooning, the health status of the platooning and when to disengage platooning," Larsson said.