Skoda's put dancing lights in the Enyaq's grille to help pedestrians cross the road
Lights, pedestrians, action! Skoda trials new LEDs to aid other road users
Skoda has rolled out a new road safety pilot project that utilises its Enyaq electric SUV in a bid to reduce pedestrian injuries. For which, read: 'dancing red and green lights in the grille space'. (Think of the messages a BMW XM could display in its grille space. Actually... don't.)
It's part of an urban mobility project that focuses on vehicle-to-pedestrian communication; essentially, LED signals on an Enyaq iV’s grille indicate when other road users can ‘go’ and when the car itself is going to move off.
Skoda is trialling different symbols, patterns and colours to better understand how pedestrians react. It predominantly uses red and green icons - ace for those with deuteranomaly, aka red/green colourblindness - while that dynamic grille can also flash up a warning to pedestrians when the car is unable to stop.
Said icons include green arrows, a green person, a warning triangle or a red triangle with a cross. All fairly self-explanatory. There's also information on the car's internal display so the driver knows what is being shown.
Skoda is using programmable LEDs which are controlled separately, where the backlit crystal face of the Enyaq’s grille would normally sit. The brand hopes to widen the trial, which aims to make roads safer for children, older road users and people with disabilities.
Part of the wider scheme is a mobile beacon. The machine, with four wheels, a computer unit and a screen displaying the widely recognisable pedestrian indicators rolls into the middle of the road when it needs to like a two-metre tall robotic lollipop lady. Sounds haunting, actually.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the number of accidents involving pedestrians topped 16,000 in the UK in 2021 — more than 300 per week. It follows changes to the Highway Code, introduced in January 2022, which created a hierarchy of road users in which pedestrians are given greater rights of way.
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