Location-Aware Virtual Reality for Situational Awareness On the Road

Li, Jingyi and Mayer, Alexandra and Müller, Florian and Matviienko, Andrii and Butz, Andreas

Abstract: When future passengers are immersed in Virtual Reality (VR), the resulting disconnection from the physical world may degrade their situational awareness on the road. We propose incorporating real-world cues into virtual experiences when passing specific locations to address this. We designed two visualizations using points of interest (POIs), street names alone or combined with live street views. We compared them to two baselines, persistently displaying live cues (Always Live) or no cues (Always VR). In a field study (N=17), participants estimated their locations while exposed to VR entertainment during car rides. The results show that adding environmental cues inevitably degrades VR presence compared to Always VR. However, POI-triggered Text&Live preserves VR presence better than Always Live and attracts user attention to the road more than POI-triggered Text. We discuss situational awareness challenges for using mobile VR on the road and potential incorporation strategies across transport contexts.