Autonomous vehicles are swifty becoming mainstream, much to the chagrin of many. While no one can deny the utility of self-driving cars, safety remains a predominant concern. AI is improving every day, but the secret to making autonomous vehicles safe enough for public use may lie in an unexpected place–lighting.
South Korean car parts firm Hyundai Mobis showcased its Communication Lighting concept at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES). According to the company, that concept is capable of accurately detecting a pedestrian in the road up to 450 feet away.
Basically the lighting concept projects images in front of the vehicle. So, if a pedestrian is waiting to cross the street the car could project a bright red warning symbol on the road, giving the pedestrians a visual indicator that it is not safe to cross the road. Once the car has reached a complete stop it could then project a crosswalk symbol onto the road, indicating that it is now safe to cross the street.
The concept also uses sound to better communicate with people outside of the vehicle. For example, as people pass by the car the vehicle could use LED boards to begin counting down the time until the vehicle starts moving again. It can even show arrows indicated the direction in which the car plans on moving.
Basically, this concept is designed to help the autonomous vehicles better communicate with people outside of the vehicle in an effort to better avoid any accidents. Are lights and sounds the best way to do that? Well, they’ve worked for crosswalks for years, it stands to reason that it will work with a moving vehicle. It will be interesting to see if features like this become more mainstream as autonomous vehicles continue to proliferate.