With many automotive manufacturers and technology companies working on autonomous vehicle technology, the competition in this segment. Lyft has now obtained a patent for new technology that can alert pedestrians about the approach of autonomous vehicles and make them more comfortable with their presence on the roads.
Lyft has received a patent for technology that transforms the windows of a vehicle into screens which can display messages to pedestrians. The messages will keep pedestrians informed on what the next move of the autonomous car will be. One example is when a message on the window informs the pedestrians that the car has sensed their presence on the road and will stop for them to cross at a zebra crossing. Or it could inform them that the car is going to take a left or right turn. Other alerts include “safe to pass” and “yielding.”
When the car has a human driver, eye contact can be used to transmit the same messages to pedestrians. In the case of autonomous vehicles, there is no human driver who can inform pedestrians of the vehicle’s intentions and this lack of ability to communicate could be one reason why the concept of autonomous cars has not gained wider acceptance.
Although Lyft has patented the technology, the company has not divulged if it is planning to pursue further development. Other companies have also developed similar technologies. Mercedes-Benz came up with a system of lights that can replicate eye contact to show that a self-driving car recognizes pedestrians. Apple patented technology that involves the use of a timer until the car’s next displayed move to inform other road users.
With Lyft being a ridesharing company, the system Lyft has developed could also involve the use of the windows as a way to display who the car is meant to pickup. The user’s name could be displayed on the window/screen so that the car can be instantly recognized when it arrives for a pick up.
Once the number of connected cars with such technology on the roads increases, the patent application visualized that the window/screen could also be used for each vehicle to communicate with other vehicles. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology is expected to reach more consumer vehicles next decade.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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