One of the problems that some have noticed with self-driving cars is that the actions taken by the car can sometimes be abrupt, such as turns, changing lanes, and so on, which can lead to passengers feeling sick or even uncomfortable. However it seems that Apple might have an answer to that problem, which is letting passengers know in advance.

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In a recently discovered patent (via AppleInsider), Apple proposes a system that offers a countdown timer before the car takes an action. This means that when the car wants to change lanes or make a turn, a countdown timer will appear to let users know ahead of time what it plans to do, which then lets passengers mentally prepare themselves.

The patent mentions how human drivers often provide cues on what they plan to do, for example they might check their rear or side-view mirrors before changing lanes. This is versus autonomous systems which obviously can’t offer up similar cues. However this isn’t just only for passengers because it could be used to inform drivers in other vehicles of what the car plans to do, although exactly how they plan to do that remains to be seen, but it has been suggested that a projection system that illuminates the road could be one of them.

This isn’t the first time Apple has explored the idea of making self-driving cars feel more comfortable for its occupants. Last month a patent revealed how a self-driving car could use sensors to detect the stress levels of passengers and adapt its driving style to make passengers feel more at ease.

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