Ford is working on technology that can predict vehicle movements based on a driver’s body language.
A patent application filed on November 4, 2015, was published this week and in it, it details “systems, methods, and devices for predicting driver intent and future movements of a human-driven vehicle.” Essentially, the system predicts future movements of a car by using a camera system, a boundary component, a body language component and a prediction component.
One reason Ford is likely developing this technology is to help keep roads safe when autonomous vehicles are first introduced. It’s highly unlikely that self-driving cars will be adopted at a rapid rate, meaning for a period of time, there will be both self-driving cars and human-driven cars sharing the roadways.
In the patent application, Ford acknowledges that the first generations of autonomous vehicles are having to drive alongside human drivers, and as a result, autonomous vehicles need to be able to predict the motion of surrounding vehicles, even if they are human-driven. The technology Ford is working on is hoping the predictions are more accurate if the intentions of those other drivers can be inferred with the help of information about their body language, such as the direction of their gaze over time and any gestures they make, like waving to signal another car to go first at a four-way stop.
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