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Wendy Ju

Associate Professor

Information Science, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech

Where Did This Car Learn to Drive?


Drivers communicate and negotiate with other drivers, pedestrians and road users implicitly and explicitly through the movement of their cars, as well as through honking, verbal communication, body language and gaze. It is widely recognized that these interaction patterns vary culturally; the advent of autonomy will necessitate a more explicit understanding of the complex manner in which drivers interact. Mismatches in perception, understanding and action between road users can easily cause accidents. We are exploring how drivers implicitly communicate and coordinate with others on the road, and to assess how these driving interactions differ across cultures.

We have developed a multi-person virtual-reality driving simulator to study how drivers interact. 

By staging situations that demand negotiation, such as ambiguous four-way stops, we can capture how participants communicate with other drivers or pedestrians to coordinate joint action, implicitly through the movements of their virtual car or bodily movement, or explicitly through verbal or gestural exchange. By comparing how people from different cultures coordinate in comparable situations, we can better understand cultural differences in driving interaction.



  1. David Goedicke, Cornell Tech, 

  2. Carmel Zolkov, Israel Institute of Technology,

  3. Natalie Friedman, Cornell Tech,

  4. Avi Parush, Israel Institute of Technology,



Wendy Ju is an Associate Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and in the Information Science field at Cornell University. She is also on the faculty at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Her research explores how people will interact with future automated systems, such as cars, robots and cities.

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