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Autonomous Bus Sounds: All About When, Not How

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utonomous buses in Linkping, Sweden, must make frequent stops when pedestrians and cyclists get too close.

The researchers found that playing “The Wheels on the Bus” and a similar jingle successfully signaled cyclists to clear the road, before the bus' brakes engaged.

Credit: Hannah Pelikan

Cornell University's Malte Jun, and Hannah Pelikan from Sweden's Linköping University, are using sound to improve autonomous buses' navigation and communication capabilities.

The researchers found the timing of sounds is the critical factor in ensuring effective social engagement by autonomous buses in the Swedish town of Linköping.

They played various sounds through a Bluetooth speaker outside of a bus to alert pedestrians and cyclists to the vehicle’s approach, analyzed videos of interactions, and chose new sounds to test based on that information.

Jung and Pelikan observed through video analysis that timing and duration, rather than sound type, were key to signaling the bus's intentions.

They hope this work will help enable autonomous vehicles to participate in the traffic dialogue more effectively.

From "Autonomous Bus Sounds: All About When, Not How"

Cornell Chronicle (04/17/23) Patricia Waldron
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