Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has developed a way to project onto the road the path of a driverless vehicle in order to tell other road users what it’s going to do next.

The system beams a series of projections onto the road to show the future intentions of the vehicle – for example stopping and turning left or right.  The company says they could even be used to share obstacle detection and journey updates with pedestrians.

These 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. Upon approaching a turn, the bars fan out left or right to indicate the direction of travel.

Trials were set up by Jaguar Land Rover’s Future Mobility division, supported by cognitive psychologists, after studies suggested more than two-fifths of drivers  and pedestrians are worried about sharing the road with autonomous vehicles.

Pete Bennett, Future Mobility Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, explained, “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 ongoing development into how self-driving cars will interact with people in the future.”

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Photo by Quintin Gellar from Pexels.