Would Driverless Cars Be Safer If They Had Googly Eyes?
When you read the archives of tech news websites, you can find all kinds of far-fetched ideas about how to make cars safer and more efficient. You will also find news about technologies that once sounded far-fetched, but are now so widespread that no one is surprised to see a car that incorporates them. Millennials and everyone older than them learned to drive in cars without rear-facing cameras, but today’s drivers’ ed students have never known a time where the only way to reverse your car safely was to put your hand on the passenger headrest and turn your upper body to see behind you. The idea that cars would know, without you even blowing into a breathalyzer, whether you were too drunk to drive, once seemed laughable, but newly enacted legislation requires all cars manufactured after 2026 to include this technology, and some cars currently on the road already have it. Autonomous driving technology is part of many vehicles currently on the market, but the debate on how, if at all, a car can operate safely in the absence of a human driver continues. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident involving autonomous vehicle technology, contact a Columbia car accident lawyer.
Eye Contact Prevents Collisions
At crosswalks, the only way pedestrians can be completely sure that it is safe to cross is if they make eye contact with nearby drivers to confirm that the drivers can see them. Likewise, at four-way stops, drivers should proceed in the order that the law dictates, but they often make eye contact with each other just to be sure that everyone knows who is present. How can you be sure that the sensors on a driverless car can see you, though? Researchers at the University of Tokyo conducted an experiment to see whether the presence of vaguely human-looking eyes on an autonomous vehicle would influence pedestrians’ behavior.
The researchers installed large, cartoonish googly eyes on the cars in the experiment. They also placed two-way mirrors in place of windshields. Therefore, even though the cars had human drivers, it appeared to pedestrians that the vehicles were driverless. At crosswalks, the cars’ eyes sometimes appeared to be looking straight ahead, but other times they appeared to be looking toward the pedestrians or away from them. The pedestrians did a better job of judging when it was safe to cross when the cars were looking at them and they felt that they could make eye contact with the cars before they crossed. Driverless cars, with or without googly eyes, will not be a common sight on streets anytime soon, but the study highlights the importance of drivers and pedestrians paying attention to their surroundings at all times.
Let Us Help You Today
The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you get enough money to compensate you for your medical bills and other accident-related losses if you were injured in a car accident because the at-fault driver did not see you in time to avoid a collision. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.