When it comes to autonomous vehicles, safety is a major concern, for both pedestrians as well as the passengers. The United States Patent Office granted Lyft with a patent for a notification system it envisioned for self-driving vehicles powered by AI.
The patent filing states: “Drivers and pedestrians are accustomed to interacting in particular ways, removing a driver from some vehicles can lead to uncertainty and miscommunication.” The notification system, as Lyft envisions, would first detect the position of pedestrians getting in its way and then choose an appropriate message to display to them on the most visible car window. Each window of the autonomous vehicle will include a projector, a see-through screen or another display device to communicate the message.
Lyft isn’t the only company looking at ways to make their autonomous vehicles interact with the outside world. Earlier this year, Uber filed a patent for using flashing lights and sounds to talk to pedestrians. Another startup Drive.ai – also a Lyft partner – uses LED signs that use text and pictures to communicate.
Giants like Google and Ford have also been looking into realizing similar systems for enabling communication between autonomous vehicles and humans. “Having one, universal communication interface people across geographies and age groups can understand is critical for the successful deployment of self-driving technology,” Ford Human Factors Technical Specialist for Self-Driving Vehicles John Shutko wrote in a blog post.