A mobile application for booking autonomous vehicles - Combining the sharing economy and self-driving cars
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Fully autonomous vehicles eliminate the human driver of cars by taking care of all driving tasks. The cars can view 360 degrees of their surroundings and make decisions based on them, which can optimize traffic and fuel usage, and also contribute to safer traffic and improve mobility in the society. These cars can be combined with the sharing economy, which enables the sharing of assets and resources among people to optimize usage, by offering a pool of autonomous vehicles as an on-demand service to members. For such a product to be used, the public must have a positive attitude towards it, and it must also be able to satisfy the needs of the society to replace personal vehicles and public transport. This thesis evaluates how the combination of autonomous vehicles and the sharing economy can affect the society, and if a mobile application can take care of the communication between the cars and the end users. A mobile application to handle all car booking functionality was developed, including car distribution and route planning. The application is only an initial version, so more and expanded functionalities are needed for the application to fulfill all requirements. Two user tests were conducted on the application, with two different sets of users. The first and qualitative test resulted in some suggestions for usability improvements to the application and a preliminary usability score. The second and quantitative test was conducted after fixing usability problems and adding functionality, and resulted in a final usability score and some indications of the public attitude. The results indicate that the application has potential and is easy to use, but with some room for improvement, and the general attitude of the public is positive, but an attitude change is needed for people to change from personal vehicles to shared autonomous vehicles.