About 63 percent of adults in the U.S. would feel unsafe walking or cycling if autonomous cars were on the streets, according to the American Automobile Association study via U.K.-based company Jaguar Land Rover.
To help ease the tech trepidation, Jaguar Land Rover is adding a human quality to self-driving vehicles—eyes.
“It’s second-nature to glance at the driver of the approaching vehicle before stepping into the road. Understanding how this translates in tomorrow’s more automated world is important,” says Future Mobility Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover Pete Bennett. “We want to know if it is beneficial to provide humans with information about a vehicle’s intentions or whether simply letting a pedestrian know it has been recognized is enough to improve confidence.”
In experiments, autonomous intelligent pods wait for pedestrians to cross on a simulated street scenario. The eyes appear to “look” at the pedestrian passing by, which conveys the message that the vehicle knows of their presence and will wait for them to safely cross before taking action.
The trials fall under a broader project that implores the connections between people and autonomous cars. The study, which has more than 500 test subjects, strives to create vehicles that exhibit more human reactions while on the road. The self-driving pods are designed by U.K. Autodrive partner Aurrigo.