The future of autonomous and driverless vehicles is just around the corner. Automakers around the world are working on this technology. Ford and Virginia Tech have teamed up to study a unique aspect of self-driving cars—how people react to them.
When you reach an intersection with people waiting on the corner, you likely communicate with them through hand waves, head nods, or other gestures to show them your intentions. With a driverless vehicle, that communication is lost.
With the research Ford and Virginia Tech are doing, they have developed a series of light signals that can be used to show pedestrians what an autonomous vehicle is going to do next. To put these lights to the test, they equipped a Ford Transit with a light bar on the windshield and then created a “seat suit” to conceal the driver and make it look like a driverless vehicle.
You can watch this video to see how it works.
John Shutko, Ford’s human factors technical specialist, said, “We need to solve for the challenges presented by not having a human driver, so designing a way to replace the head nod or hand wave is fundamental to ensuring safe and efficient operation of self-driving vehicles in our communities.”
What would you think if you saw a driverless vehicle? Here at Shults Ford of Harmarville, we are excited to see where this incredible technology goes next.