While virtual reality (VR) interfaces have been researched extensively over the last decades, studies on their application in vehicles have only recently advanced. In this paper, we systematically review 12 years of VR research in the context of automated driving (AD), from 2009 to 2020. Due to the multitude of possibilities for studies with regard to VR technology, at present, the pool of findings is heterogeneous and non-transparent. We investigated N = 176 scientific papers of relevant journals and conferences with the goal to analyze the status quo of existing VR studies in AD, and to classify the related literature into application areas. We provide insights into the utilization of VR technology which is applicable at specific level of vehicle automation and for different users (drivers, passengers, pedestrians) and tasks. Results show that most studies focused on designing automotive experiences in VR, safety aspects, and vulnerable road users. Trust, simulator and motion sickness, and external human-machine interfaces (eHMIs) also marked a significant portion of the published papers, however a wide range of different parameters was investigated by researchers. Finally, we discuss a set of open challenges, and give recommendation for future research in automated driving at the VR side of the reality-virtuality continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number689856
JournalFrontiers in Human Dynamics
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2021


  • virtual reality
  • systematic review
  • automated driving
  • user studies
  • classifications
  • usability
  • augmented reality
  • user experience


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