e-Palette concept, via Takram

Creative technologist Ushigome on future vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communications.

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Self-driving news flash: flickering lights to replace eye contact in facilitating trust

Our Zenzic CAM Creator series continues with Yosuke Ushigome, Director at design innovation studio Takram.

Listing his primary interest as “emerging technologies”, London-based creative technologist, Yosuke Ushigome, has been working with Toyota on future car concepts for over 10 years. Here, he gives his thoughts on the key issues in driverless car design.

Yosuke Ushigome, director Takram
Yosuke Ushigome, director Takram

YU: “We come from a user experience (UX) background and over the years our projects with Toyota have got bigger and higher level. In 2018, with the e-Palette concept, we started taking a more holistic approach to mobility and automation – an on-the-ground people perspective on the entire system, rather than the UX of an interior, exterior or service.

“There’s going to be a trend in transparency and trust. How can designers help the systems, passengers, pedestrians and others to communicate? In the past, this has usually been based around the driver and passenger, but that’s got to expand. In cars of the future, pedestrians will not be able to look into the driver’s eyes – what’s driving might not even be on the car, it might be in the cloud.

“How can you communicate interactions that facilitate trust? That’s really interesting. People pick things up from little movements in their peripheral vision, so you come back to old school ideas like patterns of flickering lights. How fast it flashes, or flashing from left to right, could give people a little nudge, maybe help them to detect danger. This kind of experimentation will definitely increase.

“Level5 autonomy seems to me to be very far off. Level4, in areas where the road system is designed for self-driving, or on private roads where there’s more separation between vehicles and pedestrians, is coming rapidly – things like deliveries between factories. Starship delivery robots are already deployed in Milton Keynes and economics will drive adoption, especially with the pandemic.

“I would like to be part of this transformation, so long as it is inclusive. There’s an opportunity to meet the needs of people left behind by our existing transport, whether that’s physical disability or economic disadvantage.”

Toyota e-Palette concept, via Takram
Toyota e-Palette concept, via Takram

Toyota had planned to showcase its e-Palette mobility solution at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, so hopefully we’ll get to see it next summer.

For further info, visit Takram.com.

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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched Carsofthefuture.co.uk in 2019.