One of the subtlest interactions on the road is the eye contact made between a pedestrian and the driver as the former is about to cross the road. This merest of the glances is enough to reassure the person on foot that it is safe to cross the road. However, how do you make an eye contact with an autonomous car?
A Swedish Engineering enterprise named Semcon has come up with a perfect solution to the problem. The latest concept ‘Smiling Car’ smiles to reassure the pedestrians that it has detected them, and it is safe to cross the road.
The press release by Semcon quotes the user experience designer of the company, Karin Ecklund:
“A lot of the discussions regarding self-driving cars are about the car’s technology. But how these vehicles will interact with unprotected road users is just as important. Self-driving cars need to communicate in a way that feels familiar and creates trust.”
A survey carried out by the engineering enterprise revealed that less than 50 percent of the pedestrians trust the self-driving or the autonomous cars. Only 15 percent of the US citizens believe that a self-driving vehicle would actually stop for them.
The firm rigged a car to look like an autonomous vehicle; most of the pedestrians were terrified or angered by its presence.
The company believes that the integration of the technologies like eye-tracking and laser technology could enhance the interaction with an autonomous vehicle. They think that a self-driving car with the ability to track head an eye movement of the walkers could better understand where a person is headed.
The concept of the Smiling car by Semcon is an effort to establish a global communication standard for the autonomous vehicles.