Will Autonomous Cars Make Roads Safer 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.