Signals is a project done in collaboration with Huawei, exploring technology for autonomous cars in 2020.
What is the problem?
As autonomous cars become a commodity, some human-to-human communication in traffic will need a new equivalent. In crosswalk situations, lacking a system for communicating the car's intentions risks confused and hesitating pedestrians, and slowed down traffic. Adding to this, autonomous cars will navigate environments where pedestrians are frequent, such as with inner-city carpooling.
The result of the project was a visual communication system between autonomous cars and pedestrians, that help pedestrians cross safely at crosswalks with trust for the car, despite the car being without a driver.
This was achieved through field research, concept developement, feedback from industry experts, user testing on immersive video prototypes, enactment of scenarios and more.
Research, design & testing
To research the problem domain, behaviour at crosswalks was recorded using both regular observational techniques and video recordings. Scenarios and personas further helped shape the problem domain.
A key insight from our research (which came to differentiate us from other concepts) is that a majority of pedestrians tend to look toward the windshield to make eye contact with a potential driver. When this is not the case, there needs to be a supporting system, as some pedestrians just approximate the speed of the car without looking more closely.
Design concepts were evaluated using test subjects and model environments.
The final prototype was a video, putting the concept design in a realistic scenario using motion graphics.
Intrigued? Email me for more info, or the project report 💪🏼