Ford Test Tri-colour Lamp Visual Language Helps Autopilot

- Feb 17, 2019-

Using gesture, nodding or thumbs up can help drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to understand what the other person is doing. But how should a self driving car without human drivers communicate with people or things around? According to foreign media reports, Ford (Ford) is testing a communication method, using lights to indicate what the car is doing and what to do next. This method is part of Ford Motor Co's research communication interface, which will help autopilot communicate with other road users.


To ensure that the test is as real and natural as possible, Ford installed Human Car Seat on its Transit Connect truck. The car looks like an autopilot, but the driver is hiding in the seat. The observer can test the reaction of the light bar installed on the roof more effectively. The lamp will flicker in white, purple and blue-green lights, indicating when the vehicle will drive, the map to be on the way, and prompt others or vehicles to make way.


Previously, Ford studied the method in the United States, and the latest test complemented the study by Ford and Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany. Researchers expanded the range of tests to test the effects of two other colors besides white. The lamp is mounted on the roof of the car, on the top of the windshield when tested in the United States, and in a higher position, the lamp can be seen 500 meters away.


According to the survey, 60% of the 173 respondents who saw Transit Connect were considered to be an autopilot. In addition, from the responses of 1600 observers, it was found that blue-green was more noticeable than white, and was less likely to be confused with red than purple, and became a favorite color. In addition, people are also very receptive to and trust in such signals, which provides a basis for researchers to further develop and improve visual language.


Drivers hidden in "human car seats" are trained to ensure that the car is driving safely all the time, and to watch the road ahead through a fake head rest device, and to operate special poles to give instructions. The driver's assistant hiding behind will also monitor the road ahead and ensure that the driver has adequate water supply.


In separate tests conducted by Ford in collaboration with HELLA, a specialist in automotive lighting and electronic equipment, researchers further tested the location of the lamp at grilles and headlights, but found no particular preference for the location of the lamp.


Ford is now working to ensure that people can trust autopilot in order to deploy their special automatic driving vehicle in North America in 2021. The company is collaborating with International Organisation for Standardisation and Society of Automotive Engineers, and calls on other automotive and technology companies to help create industry standards to convey the intent of autopilot.