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JLR reveals self-driving car lighting system to help pedestrians

Date: 24 January 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

A system that projects the trajectory of a self-driving car, telling pedestrians and other road users what it will do next, has been developed by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

It beams a series of projections onto the road to show the future intentions of the vehicle - such as stopping and turning left or right - as part of research into how people can develop their trust in autonomous technology.

In the future, JLR says the projections could even be used to share obstacle detection and journey updates with pedestrians.

Tested on autonomous pods developed by Aurrigo, the projections feature a series of lines or bars with adjustable spacing.

The gaps shorten as the pod is preparing to brake, before fully compressing at a stop.

As the pod moves off and accelerates, the spacing between the lines extends. When approaching a turn, the bars fan out left or right to indicate the direction of travel.

JLR says trials were set up by its engineers, supported by cognitive psychologists, after studies showed 41% of driver and pedestrians were worried about sharing the road with autonomous vehicles. 

Tests took place on a fabricated street scene at a Coventry facility, with engineers recording the trust levels reported by pedestrians both with and without projections.

The testing was conducted as part of JLR's government-supported UK Autodrive project. 

JLR future mobility research manager Pete Bennett said: "The trials are about understanding how much information a self-driving vehicle should share with a pedestrian to gain their trust. Just like any new technology, humans have to learn to trust it, and when it comes to autonomous vehicles, pedestrians must have confidence they can cross the road safely. 

"This pioneering research is forming the basis of on-going development into how self-driving cars will interact with people in the future."