— Jaguar Land Rover is testing virtual eyes on vehicles to determine how pedestrians trying to cross a street will react to and trust self-driving vehicles.
Engineers have been working with cognitive psychologists to better understand how "friendly-faced eye pods" will give pedestrians confidence the self-driving vehicle sees them as they wait to cross a street.
According to Jaguar, 63 percent of pedestrians have worries about crossing streets while trying to trust self-driving vehicles to take the appropriate and safe option. But the virtual eyes are used to make eye contact with pedestrians to let them know what the vehicle is doing.
The automaker says it wants to know how much information self-driving cars should share with pedestrians and how vehicle behavior influences the behavior of pedestrians.
The project is supported by the UK government and uses what Jaguar calls "intelligent pods" to watch for the pedestrian, appearing to look directly at them.
Engineers record the trust levels in pedestrians before and after the virtual eyes make contact to determine if the vehicle is doing enough to instill confidence in the pedestrian. The virtual eye tests are part of a larger study to determine how driverless cars can replicate human behavior to make cars safer.
Jaguar's Autonomous Vehicle With Virtual Eyes