Virtual eyes are looking at you

If you thought driverless cars were still some way off…well have a look at this!

A driverless pod that has virtual eyes that see – well – eye to eye with you!

The idea, according to Jaguar Land Rover, is to help other road users ‘understand’ the car’s intent. Without a driver at the wheel.

Engineers and psychologists want to gain a deeper understanding of human trust with autonomous vehicles.

Apparently, as many as 63% of pedestrians worry about how safe it will be to cross the road in the future.

So these friendly-faced eyes – or as Jaguar Land Rover calls them ‘eye pods’ – will help them work out how much information autonomous cars should share with users or pedestrians to ensure the technology is trusted.

It’s all highly scientific.

The intelligent autonomous pods drive along a fabricated street scene in Coventry.  The behaviour of pedestrians is analysed as they wait to cross the road. The ‘eyes’ then seek out the pedestrian and appear to ‘look’ directly at them.

By such an action it helps the pedestrian understand that the pod has ‘seen’ them and intends to take avoiding action.

The innovative trials are part of a wider study exploring how future connected and autonomous vehicles can replicate human behaviour and reactions when driving.

It does sound strange, doesn’t it? But autonomous vehicles are going to be a serious part of our future driving scene.

Just this week Toyota announced it was extending its collaboration with Uber to progress automated vehicle technologies for increased car sharing.

I just wonder what the app will say once you’ve hailed the cab. Instead of a driver’s face and name, do you get a virtual reality driver?

It’s a strange world the future – but an exciting one.