Scientists Propose Putting Giant Googly Eyes On Self-driving Cars

Credits: University of Tokyo

Autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly prevalent, so it won’t be long before they are regularly found traveling alongside traditional vehicles on the roads. As a result, there will be a lot more encounters between pedestrians and driverless cars.

Researchers aim to prevent any potential friction spots or conflicts between pedestrians and autonomous vehicles by clearly communicating to the pedestrians that they are crossing a street in front of a car being operated autonomously.

With more pedestrian-driverless car interactions likely to occur, it is essential to understand the capabilities and limitations of self-driving technology.

Researchers in Japan have proposed an innovative solution to ensure that pedestrians take note of autonomous golf carts: giant, animatronic googly eyes at the front.

The efficacy of this idea was tested, and the results indicate that pedestrians paid more attention to the autonomous golf carts when they had googly eyes attached.

Pedestrians have no obvious way to interact with autonomous vehicles, operated solely by sensors and computer systems, as they would with a human driver. This presents a unique challenge for individual pedestrians and autonomous vehicles’ overall road safety.

A group of researchers from Japanese universities recently presented a new study that explored the potential of mounting remotely-controlled eyes on the autonomous golf carts’ hoods as a way to reduce traffic accidents.

The study showed promising results by employing a 360-degree camera. The camera captured the cart as it approached an intersection.

In an experiment, participants utilized a virtual reality headset to recreate scenarios in which they had to decide in a split-second whether or not to cross the street with a golf cart approaching them.

The research team discovered that the participants were significantly more willing to cross the road when they saw a golf cart approaching them. Interestingly, those surveyed showed higher security and trust when the googly eyes were facing them.

Despite feeling a little intimidated by the experiment’s use of giant eyes, the participants were surprisingly amenable to the concept.

Giant googly eyes could be a creative yet effective means of improving pedestrian safety in the age of self-driving vehicles.

The research concluded that giant googly eyes could reduce the risk of accidents and increase people’s awareness of safety or danger.

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