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    • This was mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell-produced documentary AUTONOMY, the idea of having cars and pedestrians communicate through some kind of visual language as without a driver to indicate via body language like hand waves or head nods, it could get quite dangerous to decide whether or not it was safe to cross at a particular crossing or make a turn.

      The specific relevant quote from the piece above:

      Noted autonomous car journalist and writer Tamara Warren asks, in reference to the phrasing of "autonomous cars" - "Whose autonomy are we talking about?" Is it our autonomy as humans? Or the cars' autonomy? There's a sense of fear about "the other" of an autonomous vehicle. You can't read the body language of a car.

      A fascinating experiment that's profiled is Andy Schaudt's "seat suit" tests, where he's developed a concealment for a human inside the seat of a car to gauge reactions and body language of pedestrians who "think" they are interacting with an autonomous vehicle. They are developing a "new language" for these autonomous vehicles to convey interaction - in hopes that this language will be universal enough to translate cross-vehicle and prevent pedestrian harm.

      While technologists, researchers and companies work on the future of transportation, there's a current crowdfunding campaign for a product called RoadWayve to help fight road rage and improve communication between drivers now. As seen in YankoDesign, what's RoadWayve all about?

      RoadWayve aims at removing road-related rage by fostering communication. The minute a driver makes their intent known, or even apologizes for something they may have done, it goes a long way in diffusing a potential road-rage situation where people yell obscenities or repeatedly honk their horns in disapproval. The RoadWayve LED screen helps communicate that intent.

      Designed to mount on the rear windshield of your car and powered either via the RoadWayve remote (that sits on your dashboard), Wayvemote, or your smartphone, RoadWayve can communicate messages to drivers around you. May it be: asking to merge into their lane, or apologizing for cutting them off. You can also thank drivers for letting you overtake them, or ask them to turn down their high-beam headlights, and the RoadWayve app even lets you add custom messages (works best for situation-specific messages or messages in local languages).

      Current pricing for RoadWayve is $129 for the Early Bird RoadWayve (estimated shipping July 2020).

      What do you think?

      Would you utilize something like this in your own transport?

    • I wonder if people who drive convertibles experience less road rage because the driver is visible. I admit it’s easier for me to get angry at a car because it’s easy to disassociate the vehicle from the driver. But when the driver is clearly visible I can’t do that.

    • I don't know about convertibles specifically ( but you may be correct ), but motorcyclists certainly seem to be abused by some/few drivers, whether wearing a helmet or not.

      I have often thought that drivers, generally, are more courteous in the countryside on back roads, than on the interstate beltways or interstate circles around metropolitan areas. Maybe less time pressure on drivers there or less of a feeling of anonymity.

      I really was aware of this in the Scottish backcountry side - where frequently the roads are only ONE lane wide, and drivers literally have occaisional pullover spots to pass by each other - even if one of the vehicles is an 18 wheeler or a bus. Single lane roads really require a bit of courtesy on the part of drivers if they hope to survive.

      I think how the LED display is used by the driver, will decide whether RoadWave decreases or increases road rage. It certainly could help.

    • I thought of this long ago, but to be honest - mostly in a mocking way. Like "tweeter for cars" just as personalized license plates offer this "touch". I think if everyone (1) knows/understands and (2) obeys traffic laws, this would be totally unnecessary and perhaps even a unneeded distraction - imo. Just think of all drivers who don't grasp the idea of "right of way" - when not specifically expressed by stop light or signs, but has to be logically evaluated by perception of each vehicle position and their traffic timing - what it actually means and how to apply it! A roundabout would be a perfect example, where even though a Yeld sign is present it gets often disregarded. A four way stop, another. That is why people resort to unconventional but commonly accepted "etiquette negotiation".

      The problem with that is that it's relative, debatable, and subjected to driver's mood. It's one thing in rural farmland when two vehicles meet, drivers smile at each other and wave, and entirely another in NYC rush hour, hahahaaa..

      So back to the OP, it may be beneficial to help raise empathy for bad or inattentive drivers, thus creating the impression of helping. And certainly introduce ambiguity. I do not think social media needs to get in the vehicle traffic realm via a language sign that can evolve in whatever direction crazed masses will lead it to once something like this would be unleashed.

    • Would you utilize something like this in your own transport?

      I've always wanted a way to communicate with other drivers on the road. The most common scenario where I feel like yelling at other drivers is when I'm at a junction waiting to join the main road, there's a car driving towards me so I wait for him to pass, only for him to then turn into my junction without signalling, so I waited for no reason. If I could I'd flip him off and tell him to learn to use his signal lights!

    • I had this idea once maybe ten years ago, brought it up at dinner. My generally mild mannered french mother basically said "how long until people will figure out a way to have the message say "**** You" to the car behind them?"

      pretty much killed that idea for me on the spot.

    • Agreed - I know I have been living in NJ for a long time but there are clear signs of unhappiness displayed each day as I travel on my way. This is a state when the light turns Orange you often don't dare stop as the guy behind you is going through that light whether you are in the way or not .

      I wonder if this message system has the capacity to add to road rage ?

    • Whether it be newspapers, or telephones, or recordings, or radios, or television, or the internet (I think that is the order in which they were invented) communication media are not inherently detrimental or beneficial. It is the MESSAGES which are communicated that are either detrimental or beneficial.

      The problem with the way in which this proposed medium of communication was discussed in the quotation within the original post was that it was presented as if it were inherently beneficial. I have seen the exact opposite problem on numerous occasions when people of an older generation treat a new invention as if the invention were inherently detrimental.

      Tech doesn't harm people, People harm people.

    • I agree. When we use public roads we usually do it for necessity and want to get there safe and comfortable, today, while when things go "South" such as getting stuck in - say Lincoln tunnel - the last thing one wants is to interact with others stuck in traffic. To my mind, there is no need for more "communication", the only thing that can help traffic be more fluent and safer would be good driving skills, an active (not passive or sleepy-distracted nor aggressive) driving attitude, and observance of traffic laws. Maybe this all is wishful thinking and we are headed to where only robots will drive legally in the future.

    • I often drive 5 giggly girls around in the Baldy Bus that has magnetic lady bugs and flowers on the side. The girls love them.

      I had hoped they would soften aggressive drivers around us. My impression is they have with a lot of drivers, notably women, who sometimes tell us things like we have the happiest car they know. 🌸 🐝 🦋

      With the girls in the van, I’m neither an aggressive nor slow driver. I try to stay with the flow. I have the impression that to some aggressive drivers the magnets give the impression I must be slow and they feel the need to roar around me on the freeway and cut into the space between me and the car I’m following.

      Maybe I just notice it more with kids in the car?

      I’m going to try a Roadwayve when they ship to see what happens. 🙂

    • It occurred to me the other day that this kind of thing could be useful in taxi's and uber/lyft to make it known someone is getting out of a car and on which side.

      As a biker the thing that scares me more then anything is a door flying open unexpectedly.

    • Funny you mention that. I hesitated clicking the Earlybird Special on Indiegogo because July 2020... I don't know how many times I commit to one of these only to find some other vendor I end up preferring getting to market sooner. How hard can it be to design? They've been at it since March 2016.

      I checked Amazon and there is one that's been on sale for years. One of the reviewers claims to be an Uber/Lyft driver:

      (5 stars) Novel Way To Announce Your Information August 14, 2017

      I bought this for use when I'm driving for Lyft and Uber and my riders get a kick out of it. It announces that I offer water, lifesavers, mints and phone chargers. Also, asks for 5 stars and wishes them a happy holiday when needed. Instructions were pretty straight forward and although there is a limited IR area on the unit to transmit it works pretty well for the price.

      It doesn't look quite as fun & friendly as the one on Indiegogo but it scrolls, can use icons, etc.

    • I would be interested in a comparison of the visibility of both systems from one "car length" away during an unclouded full glare visibility test.

      If the message cannot be read without extreme concentration except when both cars are stopped at a red light or stop sign, then the system is not practical.