Commentary

Ford Taps VR To Gauge Consumer Reactions To Self-Driving Car Signals

Aside from the future marketing of connected or autonomous cars, one carmaker is pushing the market to create a common way for future self-driving vehicles to communicate with pedestrians.

Ford is proposing a universal communications interface for cars that people can understand.

“Today, we’re calling on all self-driving vehicle developers, automakers and technology companies who are committed to deploying SAE level-4 vehicles—and believe these vehicles should communicate intent—to join us and share ideas to create an industry standard for communicating driving intent, whether it be driving, yielding or accelerating from a stop,” stated John Shutko, Ford’s human factors technical specialist for self-driving vehicles in a blog post.

So-called Level 4 vehicles can drive themselves but have the ability for a driver to intervene if something goes wrong, basically autonomous vehicles with a manual override.

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Ford worked with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute last year to test-market, after testing in virtual reality scenarios. At the time, the team created a seat suit that concealed an actual driver, so the car appeared to be self-driving.

Three different lights scenarios were tested, signaling the vehicle is about to come to a full stop, lights indicating the vehicle intends to proceed on its current course and lights indicating the vehicle is beginning to accelerate from a stop.

Another virtual reality test found that it took about two exposures for participants to learn what a single signal meant and five to 10 exposures to understand the meaning of all three lighting patterns.

No word on what other messaging cars will be able to send to pedestrians after the start and stop factors are worked out.

2 comments about "Ford Taps VR To Gauge Consumer Reactions To Self-Driving Car Signals".
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  1. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , October 8, 2018 at 9:55 p.m.

    No matter what they do. They cannot recreate the eye contact that happens between 2 people.  When a car just sits there, who knows if it  will make a move, who can trust the lights?   I know, let's have the car send you a text message on your phone that reads, "Hi, I'm the silver car (which of the 10,000?) at the corner, waitng for you to cross the street. Hey I have my green light on which means you can go.  I operate on AI, so you can trust this unoccupied vehicle completely to cross the street without getting run over".  Have a nice day.
    Efficient as Heck.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, October 9, 2018 at 11:13 a.m.

    That is precisely the big issue, Mark.

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