Light Beam Technology Developed To Notify Pedestrians of Driverless Cars

Beams of light are being used to notify pedestrians of automated vehicle travel. It is well known that automated vehicles are a thing of the future, and that future is quickly approaching. The streets that have been shared by pedestrians and vehicles driven by other people will soon be shared with vehicles driven completely automatically. There are still many obstacles, literally and figuratively, that must be overcome before driverless cars become a reality. One of the main hinderances to future development of automated vehicles is the dangerous or untrustworthy perception held by the public eye. How will automated vehicles properly indicate to surrounding pedestrians the path that the vehicle plans to travel? Jaguar Land Rover has developed a system that will help to inform pedestrians of nearby driverless cars and their planned behavior. The technology uses a series of light beams that are projected out of the front of the driverless vehicle and onto the roadway surface. The light beams run the width of the vehicle and spread apart when the automated vehicle is traveling faster and move closer together at slower speeds. During acceleration and braking, the spacing between the light beams changes, to notify surrounding pedestrians of the vehicle’s planned actions.

Currently, Jaguar Land Rover is developing the technology concurrently while studying the effects of automated vehicles and the “trust” level that pedestrians have around these driverless machines. In order for the automated vehicle technology to launch effectively, pedestrians and the general public must wholeheartedly trust the actions of driverless vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover is studying how to increase this trust level. Current studies show that approximately 41% of pedestrians observing the behavior of automated vehicles are concerned about sharing the roads with robot-controlled machines. The projected light beams are designed to increase the public’s trust of driverless vehicles and will be a key safety feature for automated vehicles moving forward.

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