How JLR takes away pedestrians' fear of robot vehicles

January 28, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
How JLR takes away pedestrians' fear of robot vehicles
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has developed a system for communication between self-propelled vehicles and pedestrians. Light projections in front of the vehicle indicate whether the self-driving model wants to stop, accelerate or turn.

The encounter between autonomously driving cars and pedestrians repeatedly leads to uncertainties: Human road users do not know what the intentions of the autonomous vehicle are; unlike human drivers, they cannot make eye contact with them. Jaguar Land Rover has now developed a system that uses digital light bars projected onto the road to inform pedestrians whether the autonomous model is going to stop next, start driving or turn left or right. At the OEM's Future Mobility Research department, engineers are testing the new system using electrically powered and autonomous driving pods from Aurrigo, a Jaguar Land Rover partner in the UK Autodrive consortium.

The new system is currently being tested on an appropriately prepared, realistic road in the Coventry area. The technicians will measure how much pedestrian confidence has increased with the use of the new technology compared to vehicles without the new information system. In the future, such projections could even be used to share obstacle detection and travel updates with pedestrians.

The research project was developed as part of the government-funded UK Autodrive consortium for testing autonomous vehicles and follows on from a series of tests carried out in 2018, in which virtual "eyes" at the front of the Aurrigo Pods establish direct eye contact between car and pedestrian. "This basic research forms the basis for ongoing developments on the question of how intensively autonomous vehicles will interact with people in the future," says Pete Bennett, Manager Future Mobility Research, Jaguar Land Rover.

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