The Influence of Robot Designs on Human Compliance and Emotion: A Virtual Reality Study in the Context of Future Public Transport
ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI)
As robots enter everyday environments, they start performing tasks originally performed by humans. One field of application is the public transport sector. The deployment of autonomous transport systems comes with a lack of human contact persons for help, guidance, and crowd management. This elicits challenges regarding redirecting and managing passengers. Current solutions on platforms can be replaced or enriched with service robots whose task includes crowd management as well as social
... tion. This study investigates how the human-likeness of a robot influences the compliance and emotions of public transport users. A Virtual Reality experiment was conducted (N=33) to evaluate two different robot designs in a bus stop boarding scenario. The two robot designs differ in terms of humanoid appearance. In different experimental trials, participants had to perform a given task that was nullified by instructions from one of the two robots. Additionally, the dissonance of the situation was altered so that the environment either justified the robot's interference or not. Compliant behavior, pleasure, and arousal ratings, as well as task processing times were recorded. The experiment included an individual interview and a post-study questionnaire. The results suggest that future deployment of service robots has the potential to redirect passengers. In dissonant situations, clear reasoning must be given to make the robot effective. However, the robot's visual appearance has a more substantial impact on arousal and subjective preferences than on evoked behavior. The study implies that the presence of a service robot can influence peoples' choices and gives hints about the importance of giving a reason. However, objectively, the level of the robot's humanoid appearance did not make a difference.