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Company Gives Autonomous Vehicles Virtual Eyes To Gain Human Trust

Jaguar Land Rover has enlisted the help of cognitive psychologists to understand how vehicle behavior affects human confidence. To do so, autonomous pod vehicles have been fitted with large, virtual, cartoonish eyes. The eyes seek out nearby pedestrians before “looking” directly at them – silently signaling that the vehicle “sees” them and plans to remain stationary so they can pass by, the company said.

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With more and more autonomous vehicle testing going on and the level of trust by drivers and pedestrians in the technology still low, researchers are working to use virtual eye contact as a way to change the game, according to an article by the Washington Post.

Jaguar Land Rover has enlisted the help of cognitive psychologists to understand how vehicle behavior affects human confidence. To do so, autonomous pod vehicles have been fitted with large, virtual, cartoonish eyes. The eyes seek out nearby pedestrians before “looking” directly at them – silently signaling that the vehicle “sees” them and plans to remain stationary so they can pass by, the company said.

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People are not only uneasy about interacting with self-driving vehicles — they’re also apprehensive about riding inside them. Earlier this year, an American Automobile Association study found that 63 percent of U.S. drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, down from 78 percent a year earlier, according to the Washington Post article.

“Americans are starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of self-driving vehicles,” AAA Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations Director Greg Brannon said in February to the Post. “Compared to just a year ago, AAA found that 20 million more U.S. drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle to take them for a ride.”

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Jaguar Land Rover’s pods have yet to make it to real streets and instead are being tested on an indoor street mock-up in England.

To read the full article, click here.

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