For a pedestrian, “It’s second-nature to glance at the driver of the approaching vehicle before stepping into the road,” says Pete Bennett, Jaguar Land Rover’s Future Mobility Research Manager. So understandably, even if you’ve got the light, you may be hesitant to cross the road if you see that a waiting car has no driver behind the wheel at all. That’s why JLR’s designers have added the following feature to a series of test vehicles at a facility in Coventry:
“The intelligent pods [are] run autonomously on a fabricated street scene in Coventry, while the behaviour of pedestrians is analysed as they wait to cross the road. The ‘eyes’ have been devised by a team of advanced engineers, working in Jaguar Land Rover’s Future Mobility division. The pods seek out the pedestrian – appearing to ‘look’ directly at them – signalling to road users that it has identified them, and intends to take avoiding action.”
I think the next step should be to sign a licensing deal with Pixar.