Automated & Connected

An intelligent system from Jaguar Land Rover projects images on the road ahead to alert pedestrians of the vehicle’s direction of travel. Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover research lights way for pedestrian safety

The projection technology is part of a trials program by Jaguar Land Rover to help understand how AVs can gain pedestrian trust by communicating their intentions.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has developed a system that projects the direction of travel onto the road ahead of self-driving vehicles to tell pedestrians and other road users what the vehicle is going to do next.

The intelligent technology beams a series of projections onto the road to show the future intentions of the vehicle—for example stopping and turning left or right—as part of research into how people can develop trust in autonomous technology. In the future, the projections could even be used to share obstacle detection and journey updates with pedestrians, says JLR.

These projections, tested on autonomous pods developed by Aurrigo, 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. Upon approaching a turn, the bars fan out left or right to indicate the direction of travel.

The system was tested on a fabricated street scene at a Coventry UK facility with engineers recording trust levels reported by pedestrians both with and without projections.

The trust trial program, which also included fitting of ‘virtual eyes’ to the intelligent pods in 2018 to see if making eye contact improved trust in the technology, was conducted as part of JLR’s government-supported UK Autodrive project.

“The trials are about understanding how much information a self-driving vehicle should share with a pedestrian to gain their trust., “said Pete Bennett, future mobility research manager at JLR. “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 ongoing development into how self-driving cars will interact with people in the future.”

Safety remains the priority as Jaguar Land Rover invests in self-driving technology and becoming automotive leaders in autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility, says a release from JLR. The trial is aligned with the brand’s long-term strategic goals, it continues, to make cars safer, free up people’s valuable time, and improve mobility for everyone.

Mark Miller is a contributing writer to SAE International. He has worked as a technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics and Internet of Things technologies.

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