While autonomous driving tech evolves under sheds of different automakers, a majority of them are forced to figure out simple ways of communication between the vehicles and pedestrians. Following the same, Mercedes-Benz has now devised a new method for better communication with the help of lights.
The company recently unveiled a prototype that leans on lighting effect to alert the public of its intentions. The German automaker has made use of an S-Class to create the new Cooperative Car. It will use turquoise lighting for its signalling which Mercedes-Benz claims was chosen after an in-house study. This particular hue was chosen for lighting because it is absent in the automotive space overall.
Mercedes-Benz has made use of an S-Class to create the new Cooperative Car.
In addition to the 360-degree light pods on the roof of the car, there are light displays in its radiator grille, exterior mirrors, windshields, lower parts of the windows and in headlamps. The lights on the roof of the car have three different configurations; continuous light means the car is in autonomous mode, slow flashing lights indicate the car is braking and pulsing light means the car is about to move. Apart from this, the company is also working on the idea of turning the entire body into a digital communications system.
In addition to the 360-degree light pods on the roof of the car, there are light displays in its radiator grille, exterior mirrors, windshields, lower parts of the windows and in headlamps.
While these ideas are merely concepts now, it exemplifies the complications involved in the transition into autonomous vehicles. During the early stages when autonomous tech started picking up momentum, a major problem to overcome was to connect and communicate with the road and with other cars. However, automakers have lately realised that a bigger challenge was to establish a string of interaction between vehicles and wildcard variables such as humans crossing a street. Detection is a part of the solution, not the entire answer.
Similar to Mercedes-Benz, several manufacturers are in to win the game with new ways for the car to inform its surroundings. British automaker Jaguar recently suggested displaying lines on the road showing where the car will go. Similarly, Volvo is researching lights and sounds along with exterior screens to display messages.