MassRobotics recently hosted the inaugural Socially Aware Autonomous Mobility (SAAM) consortium (May 18, 2022) and with more than 25 participants from around the globe. SAAM is spearheaded by Paul Schmitt, the MassRobotics Automated Vehicles Director. Paul is also the Motion Planning Architect, Expressive Robotics Manager at Motional.

SAAM’s mission is to connect industry, academia, and public policy to share perspectives and updates on Community and Human Robot Interaction challenges. Additionally SAAM advances ideas that improve awareness of issues and the community experience of automated mobility.

SAAM functions at a global level with current members from Europe, Canada and the U.S.

SAAM’s inaugural guest speaker was Bruce Mehler from the MIT AGELab who presented “Status and Direction of AV and Pedestrian Interactions at the United Nations”.

Several topics were touched upon during this initial gathering including: 

  • Cultural differences and/or differences in social norms in the context of AV and pedestrian interactions.
  •  AVs use of existing signals (i.e., brake lights, horn, etc.) to communicate.
  • Liability in vehicle signaling.  
  • Benefits and trade-offs of signaling via text, animated lights, sounds and dynamic motions.  
  • Signaling for visually impaired children.  
  • Signaling from multiple sidewalk robots simultaneously.  
  • Existing research on dimensioning trust with automation and mobile robots.  
  • Future topics of interest.  

SAAM will meet quarterly and focus on particular topics of interest. Please email if you are interested in joining future meetings.