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"My interest in robotics lies in where technology intersects with humanity," says Reiley, who left Stanford University’s artificial intelligence lab to found "How do these cars actually interact with people?"

There is a huge amount of unspoken interactions between drivers and the world around them — waving someone into a merge lane, for instance, or gesturing to a pedestrian to cross the street. It’s important for self-driving cars to engage in that interactions as well, Reiley says. And, since a self-driving car won’t have a face or hands, it needs another way to interact. is working on LED signs on the vehicle that use text and emoji-like pictures to communicate.

"The horn is one of the worst designed features on the car," Reiley says. So is working on an advanced version of its auditory feedback, allowing the car to "see the context" of the situation and emit a "more socially appropriate" honk. Think Star Wars R2D2.

It's building advanced software and a kit that can be retrofitted onto standard automobiles to make them self-driving machines, and plans to start testing its amped-up cars soon.

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