To further understand how humans trust self-driving vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover engineers have collaborated with psychologists in making large virtual eyes for self-driving pods to interact with other road users.
Jaguar Land Rover’s friendly-faced ‘eye pods’ have a vital job of helping to work out how much information self-driving cars can share with users or pedestrians to ensure that people really trust the technology. In a recent study, as much as 63 percent of pedestrians worry about how safe it will be to cross the road in the future.
As part of the engineering project, Jaguar Land Rover has enlisted the help of a team of cognitive psychologists to better understand how vehicle behavior affects human confidence in new technology. The trust trials form part of Jaguar Land Rover’s government-supported UK Autodrive project.
The intelligent pods run autonomously on a fabricated street in Coventry, while the behavior of pedestrians are analyzed as they wait to cross the road. The ‘eyes’, which were engineered by Jaguar Land Rover’s Future Mobility division, seek out the pedestrians by directly looking at them – signaling to road users that it has identified them, and the Virtual Eye Pod will intend to avoid them.
Engineers record every pedestrian’s trust levels before and after the pod makes an eye contact. The pods will find out whether it generates sufficient confidence that it would stop for them. Previous studies suggest as many 63% of pedestrians and cyclists say they’d feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle.
Safety remains the number one priority as Jaguar Land Rover invests in self-driving technology, becoming automotive leaders in autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility. The trial is aligned with the brand’s long-term strategic goals: to make cars safer, free up people’s valuable time, and improve mobility for everyone.
“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. 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,” said Pete Bennett, future mobility research manager at Jaguar Land Rover.
The trials are part of a wider study exploring how future connected and autonomous vehicles can replicate human behavior and reactions when driving. As part of the study, more than 500 test subjects have been studied interacting with the self-driving pods, designed by UK Autodrive partner Aurrigo.