For the most autonomous vehicles (AV) use conventional methods to indicate to other cars and people around them as to what they’re doing.

That could soon change though, as Jaguar has developed (sign-up required) a projector that beams light to the ground in front of an AV to signal what the vehicle is doing. This system isn’t designed for any of the British carmaker’s current fleet of vehicles, but rather for self-driving ones in the services field.

More specifically the image above showcases the system on the self-driving pods from Aurrigo. These pods aren’t designed to go onto highways, but rather operate in smaller spaces like office parks, airports and shopping malls.

This is why the system could prove useful in those kinds of environments, letting bystanders know precisely what the vehicle wants to do when there’s no human behind the driver’s wheel.

As for how the system (no official name yet) works, the onboard projector utilises a series of horizontal bars to indicate when it’s operating. The space between the bars expands and shrinks depending on the speed the vehicle is travelling, along with turning left or right before the vehicle does.

There are still a few lingering questions, however, such as how effectively visible the lights are when it’s a particularly bright day, or when the weather is very poor.

As such, it makes sense to trial such a system in smaller environments like the one the Aurrigo pod operates in, before testing it out in mainstream scenarios.

There’s no timeline at this stage for this system to be deployed on fully fledged autonomous vehicles, but you could spot it on an Aurrigo pod the next time you’re in the United Kingdom.

[Images – Engadget via Newspress]
When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.