The phrase “keep an eye on the road” sometimes uttered by nervous passengers could be given something of an update, after Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) fitted ‘virtual eyes’ on its latest autonomous vehicle. Designed to interact with fellow road users and in doing so cut the chance of collisions, JLR’s Future Mobility division has developed the cartoon-like eyes to ‘look’ at pedestrians, thereby signalling that the vehicle has identified them and intends to take avoiding action.
To test the viability of the futuristic technology, JLR mocked up a realistic street scene that enabled the company to study behaviour of 500 test subjects as they waited to cross the road. Named ‘Eye Pods’ by the manufacturer better-known by many for producing all-terrain vehicles, the focus of its work is to increase the trust placed in the technology. If effectual, it’s hoped that the eyes could help reverse figures quoted by JLR that suggested 63% of pedestrians and cyclists would feel less safe sharing the road with a autonomous vehicles.
The car manufacturer’s Future Mobility division, which has invested significant resources in recent years to create the next-generation of vehicles, has enlisted the help of cognitive psychologists to better understand how vehicle behaviour affects human confidence in new technology, forming part of a programme of trials supported by the UK government’s UK Autodrive project. UK Autodrive is a three-year initiative which expires next month that was set up to interate autonomous and self-drive vehicles into “real-world urban environments”.
One the people behind the JLR’s autonomous technology, the company’s Future Mobility research manager, Pete Bennett, said that echoing what happens in the real world was vital in the Eye Pods’ development. “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,” said 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 recognised is enough to improve confidence.”
In March, Transport Security World reported on the work that Jaguar Land Rover @JLR_News was doing with Blackberry to secure the software for its next-generation connected vehicles against hackers. The “multi-year agreement” would enable the companies to develop autonomous and connected vehicle tech that will allow them to react and drive based on rich data.
To hear from some of the leading lights and decision makers in the areas of transport security, visit the Transport Security Congress website for more information on the show that will be taking place in Washington D.C. in March 2019. The two-day event will have a packed agenda and will cover the five streams: Haulage, Aviation, Rail, Automotive and Martime.
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