WEpod Welly in Delft

Interactions between pedestrian and automated vehicles in virtual reality

In collaboration with the Research Lab Automated Driving Delft, I am doing research into the effects of automated vehicles. My research is part of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research project SURF STAD ( and focuses on the interactions between automated vehicles and vulnerable road users (cyclists & pedestrians). The shift from human-operated vehicles to automated ones means that the signals that we currently use in our street-crossing behaviour will have different consequences. An example of this is eye contact. Eye contact is currently an important signal for determining whether we are seen by the other road users. However, when the person in the automated vehicle is not the one driving it, that eye contact may be meaningless or counterproductive. Specifically, a passenger in the driver’s seat could accidentally trigger a pedestrian to cross the street, which could result in unsafe crossing behaviour. However, there are even more signals that may change with the addition of automated vehicles. These will be researched in the following experiment.

Welly, one of the WEpods, came to TU Delft for a special occasion. This gave me the opportunity to record special 360° videos of the WEpod. This kind of video can be used for simulations and will be used in this experiment to simulate a crossing situation. The goal of this experiment is to study the effects of automated vehicles on pedestrian crossing behaviour. This specifically concerns how the physical appearance of the vehicle, the road design, and new means of communication impact pedestrian crossing behaviour. The 360​° videos will be shown to participants using virtual reality glasses, which will create a life-like experience for them. Ultimately, the results of this experiment will help us to better understand these interactions and hopefully, bring us a step closer to automated vehicles.

J. Pablo Núñez Velasco, MSc.
PhD candidate

TU Delft
Faculteit Civiele Techniek en Geowetenschappen
Afdeling Transport & Planning