The study aims to research pedestrian response to communication from the car

Ford has teamed up with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to test-drive a way for self-driving cars to communicate to pedestrians, drivers of other vehicles and bicyclists when the cars are driving, yielding or accelerating.

The method involves external lighting signals that would take the place of the cues that drivers typically use to communicate with other people, such as waves and head nods. Ford is testing the lighting system by using a “seat suit” that conceals the human driver of the car in order to give the appearance of a self-driving vehicle.

At first, the company considered using text or symbols to communicate, but switched to lighting because not everyone speaks the same language, and symbols generally are poorly recognized by consumers.

Ford

Ford has teamed up with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to test-drive a way for self-driving cars to communicate to pedestrians, drivers of other vehicles and bicyclists when the cars are driving, yielding or accelerating.

The method involves external lighting signals that would take the place of the cues that drivers typically use to communicate with other people, such as waves and head nods. Ford is testing the lighting system by using a “seat suit” that conceals the human driver of the car in order to give the appearance of a self-driving vehicle.