We'd be pretty creeped out by this self-driving car.
The race is on to develop the first mass-market autonomous car and companies like Volkswagen are pushing hard to be the first to market. Despite in the increased focus on building self-driving cars, consumers are actually becoming less comfortable with the idea of them on the road. In fact, two-thirds of all Americans are scared of self-driving cars. Jaguar Land Rover hopes to change that with a new autonomous car which has a very strange feature.
JLR is currently testing an autonomous pod with "virtual eyes" that are meant to convey that it has noticed a pedestrian. Research has shown that 63% of people are concerned with how difficult it will be to cross the road when all cars are autonomous. To put their minds at ease, JLR's pod uses its virtual eyes to "look" at pedestrians that want to cross the street, signaling that it sees them and it is safe to cross.
JLR has tested the pod with 500 test subjects but has yet to publish the results. If you asked us, this concept does nothing more than freak us out. Those eyes are so creepy, it makes us even more terrified of autonomous cars. JRL's thought was in the right place here, but we hope the company finds a less creepy method to convey that an autonomous car has spotted a pedestrian. A simple notification on the front bumper would probably suffice. For now, this googly-eyed pod will haunt our dreams.