Jaguar Land Rover realizes that self-driving vehicles make people nervous. To counteract this problem, the company is experimenting with autonomous vehicles that can ogle people in the crosswalk. Trials of the idea are being undertaken now.

The experiments are happening after a study by the American Automobile Association found that 63 percent of adults are wary of not being seen by self-driving vehicles. Such issues are a matter of concern for manufacturers, and must be addressed.

Through live test-track trials of an autonomous driving pod with moving eyes that acknowledge pedestrians, the company is hoping to see if a vehicle that signals its intents in a naturally human way may reassure people. The eyes may later give way to less creepy options such as lights or other forward indicators. Such features would hopefully alleviate fears that the person might be hit by the vehicle, by offering the same sort of psychological assurance that a human driver making eye contact with the pedestrian might.

"It's second nature to glance at the driver of the approaching vehicle before stepping into the road," says Pete Bennett, Future Mobility Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover. "Understanding how this translates in tomorrow's more automated world is important. We want to know if it is beneficial to provide humans with information about a vehicle's intentions or whether simply letting a pedestrian know it has been recognized is enough to improve confidence."

The trials with the eye-bearing pods are part of a larger group of studies being undertaken by Jaguar, as it explores how future connected and autonomous vehicles can replicate some human behaviors and reactions. More than 500 test subjects have been enlisted and studied during interactions with the self-driving pods.