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Why We Won't Trust Robot Cars Until They Drive Just Like US

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Driverless cars have already been tested on the streets of Milton Keynes, U.K.

Eight research projects focusing on driverless cars have received a combined total of 20 million in funding from the U.K. government as part of a scheme to pioneer the development of connected vehicles and "talking car technologies."

Credit: Catapult Transport Systems

Eight separate research projects into autonomous vehicles will receive financial support from the U.K. government.

One of the largest projects is "MOVE-UK," an initiative that brings together Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, and others. The project involves a fleet of sensor-equipped Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles to be driven around the London Borough of Greenwich by people to determine how real drivers react in traffic. The goal is to help future autonomous vehicles drive like human drivers.

The theory is that motorists using the road at the same time as a driverless car will be more likely to trust it if it acts like a human, says Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at Jaguar Land Rover. Data from sensors in these cars will reveal the natural driving behaviors and decision-making that drivers make, including complex and stressful scenarios such as yielding at roundabouts and intersections, how drivers merge into traffic, and how they react to an emergency vehicle approaching them in heavy traffic.

Drivers will need to completely trust the vehicle before they opt-in and engage automated systems. Epple says if drivers have confidence in the automation, they will be able to switch from one mode to the other, so the autonomous mode will help with any challenging or less-stimulating activities on the journey.

From ZDNet
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