According to a recent study 63% of pedestrians worry about how safe it will be to cross the road once self-driving vehicles hit the road. To better understand how vehicle behavior affects human confidence with the new self-driving technology Jaguar Land Rover has fitted “virtual eyes” to a fleet of self-driving pods.
To test the “virtual eyes” Jaguar Land Rover’s self-driving pods drive autonomously on a constructed street scene in Coventry, while the behavior of pedestrians are analyzed as the wait to cross in front of the pods. The eyes actually look directly at the pedestrian as the pod gets closer as a way to signal to the pedestrian that the self-driving pod is aware that they are crossing the street. It’s only slightly creepy.
Jaguar Land Rover’s engineers then record the trust levels in the person before and after the pod makes eye contact. So far the study has already completed 500 tests.
“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,” stated Pete Bennett, Future Mobility Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover. “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.”