How Ford Is Using Ghost Drivers To Understand The Future Of Driverless Cars
Unsupervised driverless cars are still illegal on the street. So how do you test people’s reaction to them? You throw on a ghost suit.
Last month, unwitting burghers in the suburbs near Virginia Tech got a taste of the future: A self-driving Ford minivan motoring around town with no one inside. The car behaved usually, like all self-driving cars do. Which is to say, it obeyed the letter of the law. It never went so much as a mile over the speed limit. It came to a full two-second halt at every stop sign. One driver, stuck behind this infuriating machine, honked and peeled around so that he could yell at the driver. And then he gaped in wonder, when there was no driver at all. Except, there was a driver. He was hiding in plain sight, wearing a suit that blended seamlessly into the driver’s seat. When a reporter spotted the minivan, his video went viral. But what went unreported until now was that it was all in the name of science.
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