Texas Self-Driving Cars Will Communicate Messages to Pedestrians

A bright orange self-driving van with LED screens on the hood, above the tires and on the rear can be found driving through the streets of Texas soon. Drive.ai has announced the launch of a limited ride-hailing pilot in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas. The company says its vehicles are designed to look differently for a reason. “They’re intended to look visually distinct,” said Sameep Tandon, co-founder and CEO of the Mountain View-based startup. The LED screens on the vehicle are designed to be noticeable because they will display messages that communicate the vehicle’s intent to pedestrians and other vehicles. This is called alternately “human-robot interactions” or “human-machine interface.” It is envisioned to replace the hand signals or verbal communication often used by human drivers to communicate their intentions. The vehicles will come with a list of predetermined messages that will display in different situations. Lastly, the vehicles’ sensor suite—10 cameras, four LIDAR and a radar system—are off-the-shelf, but its software stack—the AI brain, perception, motion planning, decision making and the mobile app—were all developed in-house.

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