Knowing that the driver of a vehicle has everything under control is normal. Either you are driving the car and know where you are driving to and what route you take or you are a passenger. In this last situation you receive feedforward about vehicles’ next action from the body language of the person driving the car. For example, seeing that the driver looks over his shoulder indicates that the driver will take a turn in just a few seconds. But how does this work for an autonomous vehicle? How do you know as passengers what the car is going to do and when. Moreover what do people exactly want to know?
SAS, which stands for Situation Awareness System is an information system designed for semi – and fully autonomous vehicles which uses light to discreetly inform passengers in a non-disruptive way about the vehicle’s next action.
Thanks to this feedforward, a passenger is able to physically and mentally anticipate on the car’s next action. For example; when the vehicle wants to turn right, SAS will light up on the right side of the vehicle prior to the event the car is actually going right. This light animation will not only inform the user about the fact that the car is going to turn right, but it will also roughly indicate when this will happen in an intuitive way. Next to this, SAS is able to communicate a range of different traffic situations by means of set of designed light scenarios which resemblance an abstract version of the traffic situation. For instance; right, forward, backward, stop, traffic jam, emergency services to name a few.
Additionally, SAS is completely customisable to a person’s preferred traveling experience. If passenger’s like to know everything your vehicle is going to do, then choose full as the lighting mode. In this mode, SAS will communicate all actions, anytime and anywhere. Moderate is the mode in which SAS analysis the speed limit, the kind of area in which the vehicle is, time till next action, the amount of traffic and the centrifugal forces which come into play if an action will be performed, before deciding if informing is needed yes or no. Essential mode will only communicate absolute necessary traffic situations in which abrupt and unusual actions will be taken by the vehicle. This involves; making room for emergency services, notifications concerning incoming traffic jams, road blocks, moments before an evasive manoeuvres and a like. SAS can be purchased as an add-on for semi- and fully autonomous vehicles.
A project by: Donovan Lewis