The makers of self-driving cars have a daunting task. Not only do they need to usher riders safely from point A to point B, they also have to build trust with people outside of the car.
Autonomous vehicles are outfitted with a suite of sensors that help it navigate the world, but companies making them have so far done little to communicate exactly what its AVs are up to as they roll, driverless, down the road.
A new startup called Drive.ai is taking a different route. The company recently unleashed a fleet of driverless cars onto the roads of Frisco, Texas, and they look a heckuva lot different than any AVs we’ve seen before. The bright orange vans have a blue banner across the bumper that reads “Self-Driving Vehicle,” as well as four LED screens affixed to the front, back, and hood that communicate what the car is doing.
The screens flash messages like “Waiting for you to cross,” “Going,” “Exiting,” and “Human Driver,” when the car has a person behind the wheel. According to The Verge, the design team nixed the idea of adding emojis. Good call.
Drive.ai’s vans aren’t sleek or subtle, which is exactly what sets them apart. The loud design is an effective way to help people understand an unfamiliar technology, and an intriguing direction for self-driving car development.
Via: The Verge