Ford disguised a man as a car seat to research self-driving

TechCrunch | 9/13/2017 | Darrell Etherington
roxy2707 (Posted by) Level 3

Yes, you read that correctly: Ford put a man in a car seat disguise so that a Ford Transit could masquerade a a true self-driving vehicle. Why? To evaluate how passers by, other drivers on the road and cyclists reacted to sharing the road with an autonomous vehicle.

The trial, conducted with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, also made use of a light bar mounted on the top of the windshield to provide communication about what the car was doing, including yielding, driving autonomously or accelerating from a full stop.

Engage - Dress-up - Halloween - Someone - Wheel

So why engage in such elaborate dress-up, especially when it’s not even Halloween? Mainly because you actually still do need to have someone behind the wheel in real-world testing, and also because for the purposes of this experiment, Ford and VTTI didn’t actually need a self-driving car – they just needed people to believe wholeheartedly they were using one.

The Transit Connect van used for the trial would indicate its behavior using signals including a slow white pulse for yielding, a rapid blinking for accelerating from a stop, and staying solid if it’s actively in self-driving mode. The bar is positioned roughly where a driver’s eyeline would be, to try...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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