As autonomous driving (AD) technology brings new advances and features to mobility, important questions inevitably arise.
For example, how will drivers come to trust their autonomous vehicles? How will vehicles communicate with drivers and alert them to the presence of other vehicles on the road? And, what actions will vehicles take after identifying objects, signs and other road infrastructure such as painted lanes?
Takashi Sunda, Deputy General Manager of the Autonomous Drive Technology Development Department at Nissan, and his team of engineers have developed answers to these and other questions through their work on technology that enables communication between drivers and cars.
In a world of ubiquitous personal devices, we're already interacting with this sort of technology dozens of times a day — you find it on your smartphone touchscreen, on your computer, and even your home coffee machine.
It's already a key technology in your car, where it plays a critical role in instrument panels, navigation touchscreens, and parking assistance features.
Sunda’s team is working on a wide range of new technologies that focus on how to better communicate and establish trust between drivers and their cars.
Adding to the complexity, researchers must also factor in the many differences in gender, age, experience, terrain, culture — and even different countries' rules of the road.
Drivers will need to know what information the car is collecting and — importantly — what the vehicle is going to do with that data to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.Consider a scenario in which you are changing lanes and are suddenly approached by another car in an adjacent lane: How will your vehicle convey important information about the approaching car quickly, and what will it do in response?
Or, think about a city corner, when a lone pedestrian suddenly steps off the curb and starts walking across the street: What will your car need to tell you? In these situations, you need to inform — but not overwhelm — users.
Clearly, autonomous driving will change the relationship between drivers and their cars, but it's a challenge that Sunda is particularly cut out for.
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