11 August 2017

Prank Turned Research Project

Not the test, just a a prank in the vid
At the Virginia Tech, researchers have dressed up a card seat to evaluate public responses to unmanned cars:
Tech blogs went crazy over the weekend after a new self-driving car was seen rolling around Arlington, Virginia.

Unlike vehicles from Google Waymo, Uber and others, the car didn’t have any obvious signs of a Lidar array, the chunky imaging technology most autonomous vehicles use to gauge the state of the road ahead. Instead, it had just a small bar mounted on the dashboard, which blinked red when it was at a stop light and green once the cost was clear.

Even more intriguingly, the car appeared to be genuinely autonomous: there was no-one sitting in the driver’s seat. Typically, a human overseer is required in the testing phase to make sure that the car doesn’t go wild and run over a marching band, but somehow this car had managed to find a loophole.


But still a question remained. Who was behind this breakthrough new technology? How were they solving the problems that had stymied even the mighty Alphabet/Google/Waymo megacorp?

You’ve read the headline. You know the answer: it was a bloke dressed up as a car seat.


But one aspect of the rumour mill was correct: the guy really was associated with Virginia Tech. According to the university’s transportation institute, he was engaged in research about autonomous vehicles, likely gathering data about the reaction of normal drivers to sharing road space with a self-driving car.
I'm not sure if this was a real study, or just an excuse for some researcher to f%$# with fellow drivers.

My money on the latter.


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