HELLA is set to develop a new lighting module that will provide communication between automated vehicles and other road users.
An EU-funded communication research project known as interACT is investing in the project that will see Hella and its project partners research how automated and non-automated road users will co-exist and communicate.
In particular, Hella highlights the future between autonomous vehicle users, pedestrians and cyclists, a group that usually relies on eye contact to communicate.
Michael Klienkes, Hella’s vice president of development lighting and innovation, said: ‘Today’s lighting systems inside and outside the vehicle are not currently sufficient to replace eye contact, gestures or language. This project will therefore research and develop a system which can reliably accomplish this.’
The research teams will define which situations require communication, and then realise the best method of implementing it. Projections, symbols and colours are all listed as potential ways forward.
Klienkes said: ‘Communication must after all, not only work at night, but also during the day. Furthermore, it should be clear, intuitive and work internationally.’
Once the research is complete, Hella will create a prototype to demonstrate the lighting module, that will have the products of their findings integrated.
With the lights of a car to potentially taking on a greater role than visibility in the future, Hella and all other automotive lighting specialists will need to prepare for another of the unforeseen challenges of autonomous motoring.
Story by Adam Weller