Will autonomous cars make roads safer for pedestrians?

Sep 5, 2017


Domino's and Ford have started testing driverless-car pizza delivery in Ann Arbor. MCity will test a driverless shuttle around the University of Michigan’s North Campus starting this fall.

No doubt about it, driverless cars are coming. And with that comes a new challenge: how to make those driverless cars safe for pedestrians.

Michael Clamann is part of a team at the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University that's looking into this question.

“One of the issues is that with driverless cars, that driver isn’t going to be there before. The person who’s sitting in the front seat of the car is going to be a passenger,” Clamann said. “Then it’s up to the pedestrian to communicate with the car instead of a human being.”

In an attempt to provide pedestrians with clear communication about the vehicle’s behavior, the researchers replicated street signs on the front of the vehicle.

“What we found is that even when we told the pedestrians they were there, they didn’t even look at them,” Clamann said.

Listen to the full conversation above to hear more about efforts by researchers across the country on driverless car technology.

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