Why Jaguar is outfitting self-driving cars with ‘googly eyes’
Jaguar is trying to make pedestrians more comfortable around autonomous cars by giving vehicles cars human-like eyes that follow pedestrians to let them know the car ‘sees’ them.
In the wake of a fatal self-driving car accident in March, a survey from AAA found that 73 percent of Americans are afraid to ride in autonomous vehicles–an increase from 63 percent compared to a few months prior.
Autonomous car manufacturers are doing everything they can to make riders feel at ease. But what about pedestrians crossing the street? How will they feel when the world’s streets begin to flood with self-driving cars? After all, technologists and philosophers have raised no shortage of thorny ethical questions about how autonomous cars should be programmed to behave when faced with an imminent and unavoidable accident: Should it minimize harm to the driver or, say, four people sitting at a table on a cafe patio?
In an effort to begin putting pedestrians at ease, Jaguar Land Rover’s Future Mobility division is testing out a silly-looking yet seemingly effective strategy: give cars googly eyes that follow pedestrians to let them know the car ‘sees’ them.
“It’s second-nature to glance at the driver of the approaching vehicle before stepping into the road,” Pete Bennett, Future Mobility Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said in a statement. “Understanding how this translates in tomorrow’s more automated world is important. 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.”
At a Jaguar factory in Coventry, England, the company built a model town and had self-driving four-wheeled pods navigate through fake streets and crosswalks, stopping for pedestrians along the way. Some of the autonomous were outfitted with googly eyes, some weren’t.
Jaguar asked cognitive scientists to measure the reactions of more than 500 participants as they walked in front of the pods. The results showed that pedestrians were more likely to trust cars with human-like eyes, though the company hasn’t said how it measured the reactions.
The company said its recent tests are part of larger study that explores how “autonomous vehicles can replicate human behaviour and reactions when driving.”
“Overcoming millions of years of evolution in a few decades is simply not an option,” the company wrote in the statement. “As humans we thrive on reading other faces, trusting them, making judgements. With the rise of digital communication we have to employ a much higher degree of cognitive processing to interpret the tone of written email or the intonation of a voice. A face gives us hundreds of tiny clues and therefore requires less cognitive processing power.”
As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.
- Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
- Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Jared Diamond explains why some nations make it through epic crises and why others fail.
- "A country is not going to resolve a national crisis unless it acknowledges that it's in a crisis," says Jared Diamond. "If you don't, you're going to get nowhere. Many Americans still don't recognize today that the United States is descending into a crisis."
- The U.S. tends to focus on "bad countries" like China, Canada and Mexico as the root of its problems, however Diamond points out the missing piece: Americans are generating their own problems.
- The crisis the U.S. is experiencing is not cause for despair. The U.S. has survived many tragedies, such as the War of Independence and the Great Depression – history is proof that the U.S. can get through this current crisis too.
If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.
- For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
- Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
- Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.
- We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
- When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.