HomeBusiness'Keeping a car' can reduce road accidents, increase pedestrian safety: Study

‘Keeping a car’ can reduce road accidents, increase pedestrian safety: Study

To reduce road accidents and increase pedestrian safety, a new study has shown that robotic eyes on autonomous vehicles can improve pedestrian safety. According to a new study from the University of Tokyo, participants performed scenarios in virtual reality (VR), deciding whether to cross a road in front of a moving vehicle. Participants were able to make safer or more efficient choices when the vehicle was designed with robotic eyes that looked either at a pedestrian (recording their presence) or distant (not recording their presence). Self-driving vehicles seem to be just around the corner. While the main concern for many is the practical side of creating vehicles that can navigate the world autonomously, researchers at the University of Tokyo have turned their attention to the more “human” concern of self-driving technology.

“There is not enough investigation into the interactions between self-driving cars and the people around them, such as pedestrians. Therefore, we need more scrutiny and investigation into such interactions to bring safety and reassurance to society regarding self-driving cars. Effort is required,” he said. Professor Takeo Igarashi of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. A key difference with self-driving vehicles is that drivers may become more passengers, so they may not be paying close attention to the road, or there may be no one at the wheel.

This makes it difficult for pedestrians to detect whether a vehicle has made its presence known as there may not be any eye contact or signals from the people inside. So, how can pedestrians be made aware when an autonomous vehicle has seen them and intends to stop? Like a character from the Pixar movie Cars, a self-driving golf cart was fitted with two large, remote-controlled robotic eyes. The researchers called it the “gazing car.” They wanted to test whether laying eyes on a moving vehicle would affect people’s more risky behavior, in this case, whether people would cross the road in front of a still moving vehicle when they were in a hurry.

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The team set up four scenarios, two where the car had its eyes and two without. The car had either noticed the pedestrians and was intending to stop or had ignored them and was about to continue driving. When the car had eyes, the eyes would either look at the pedestrian (stopping) or looking away (not stopping).

Since it would be dangerous to ask volunteers to choose whether or not to walk in front of a moving vehicle in real life (although there was a hidden driver for this experiment), the team recorded the scenarios using 360-degree video cameras and 18 participants (nine women and nine men, ages 18–49 years, all Japanese) played through the experiment in VR. They experienced the scenarios several times in random order and were given three seconds each time to decide whether they would cross the road in front of the car.

The researchers recorded their choices and measured the error rate of their decisions, that is, how many times they chose to stop when they could have crossed and how many times they crossed when they should have waited. “The results suggested a clear difference between the genders, which was very surprising and unexpected,” said project lecturer Chia-Ming Chang, a member of the research team.

“In this study, male participants made several risky road-crossing decisions (i.e., choosing to cross when the car was not stopping), but these errors were reduced by the look of the car. However, in safe conditions There wasn’t much difference. For them (ie, choosing to cross when the car was about to stop),” Chang explained. “On the other hand, female participants made more inefficient decisions (i.e., choosing not to cross when the car was intended to stop) and these errors were reduced by the sight of the car. However, there was not much difference in unsafe conditions. . them.” Ultimately the experiment showed that the eyes resulted in an easier or safer crossing for all.

“Going from manual driving to auto driving is a huge change. If eyes can contribute to safety and reduce traffic accidents, we should seriously consider adding them. In the future, we will be able to use self-attached robotics.” Would like to develop automatic control of the eyes. -Driving AI (instead of being manually controlled), which can adjust to different situations.” Igarashi said.

(with inputs from ANI)

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