Land Rover Wonders if Autonomous Cars Need Fake Eyes

By Gary Cutlack on at

Jaguar Land Rover has had an idea that's either the future of self-driving cars or today's attempt at getting in the news. We can't tell, but it sounds like a good idea, with the carmaker saying that it is testing autonomous cars with moving fake eyes to reassure pedestrians.

This, they say, is serious and a good idea because pedestrians usually like to make eye contact with car drivers before stepping into the road, as such a quick visual acknowledgement tells the delicate human and its precious cargo of smartphones and coffee that the car controller is aware they're there and won't randomly accelerate or steer into them as they attempt to cross at a junction. Because you get points on your license for that sort of thing nowadays.

Hence the ludicrous above image, where massive pretend eyes look at a pedestrian and somehow communicate that the onboard algorithm knows what to do and hasn't mistaken the knit pattern on their jumper for a chevron to be approached at 60mph.

Pete Bennett, a human from JLR's future mobility research division, said: "We want to know if it is beneficial to provide humans with information about a vehicle’s intentions or whether simply letting a pedestrian know it has been recognised is enough to improve confidence," as the pedestrians of the world are not currently disposed to trust autonomous vehicles. [Autocar]