Autonomous vehicles create the opportunity to redefine the relationship between pedestrians and vehicles in the city of the future.

BLINK is a communications device that adds a human touch to this interaction through a new language that communicates vehicle intent and allows for the pedestrian to influence its decisions.


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The set of values that defined the language being developed is based on the five key principles outlined below:

1. Code of Trust

Pedestrians should feel safe and comfortable at all times when traversing the urban environment. Our interviews led us to understand that there is a wariness of autonomous technology and a concern for personal safety on the road.

By developing a new common language of trust between people and autonomous agents, we can encourage a more empathetic manifestation of self-driving technology to create a safer and more pleasant urban environment.


2. Pedestrian Focused Design

While infrastructure exists to balance the power between pedestrians and vehicles, much of the current infrastructure was built around the needs of the vehicle.

The arrival of self-driving vehicles provides and opportunity to rebalance the power dynamics and give pedestrians an equal weighting in the conversation between man and machine.


3. Direct Communication

Vehicles should acknowledge pedestrian presence and communicate their intent directly and clearly.

Acknowledgement through eye-contact has been identified as an important form of assurance between pedestrians and vehicles. Self-driving vehicles must replicate this interaction.


4. Anticipation and Danger Prevention

Self-driving vehicles differ from conventional vehicles because they are able to predict and communicate their future trajectory.

The language of self-driving vehicles should communicate this trajectory as well as any potential dangers the vehicle can predict to provide a safer road environment.


5. Cultural Traffic Awareness

The behaviour of pedestrians and their interaction with vehicles differ greatly between localities and cultures.

The language of trust between pedestrians and self-driving vehicles needs to be able to learn and adapt in order to reflect these different urban environments.


The Team

The idea behind blink comes from a cross-disciplinary team of four current Masters students of the Innovation Design Engineering MA/MSc Programme at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.



Electrical engineer with experience in electric vehicle infrastructure.

Website / LinkedIn



Mechanical engineer, interested in the interaction between people and technology.

Website / LinkedIn



Industrial design engineer, building usability with advanced technology.

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Trained architect, exploring future city scenarios.

Website / LinkedIn


Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the project, we would love to hear from you.

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