Safety engineers behind the Volvo 360c, a new autonomous concept from Volvo Cars, are aiming to create a universal standard for a safe method of communication between fully autonomous vehicles and other road users. The ultimate goal is to avoid the need for other drivers to have to consider the brand of the AV when assessing the intention of its next move on the road.
In the near future, fully autonomous vehicles will be deployed on the nation's roadways in mixed-traffic situations. This means that driverless cars without human operators will share the highways and byways with other road users. Because of this situation, it be impossible to make eye contact with another driver — something that is presently key to understanding a driver's intentions that allows motorists to avoid collisions.
The 360c concept is the automaker's solution to this hurdle. Designed with safety in mind, the 360c will include a system comprising external sounds, colors, visuals, movements, as well as combinations of these tools, to communicate the intentions of the specific AV to other road users.
According to the automaker, this means that what the AV will do next — the moves and maneuvers it plans to make — will be clear at all times to surrounding motorists.
However, the 360c system will never issue instructions or directions to other road users because that could actually cause confusion on the roadways, according to Volvo.