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Making driverless cars more expressive

When he's waiting at a crosswalk, Paul Schmitt, chief engineer at Motional, engages in what he calls the "glance dance" — a rapid and almost subconscious assessment of where an oncoming driver is looking and whether they're aware of him. "With automated vehicles, half of that interaction no longer exists," he says. "So what cues are then available for the pedestrian to understand the vehicles' intentions?" To answer that question, his team hired animation studio CHRLX to create a highly realistic virtual reality experience designed to test pedestrian reactions to a variety of different signaling schemes.