Last month, a bizarre video showing a man disguised as a car seat while driving a silver van went viral, before it was revealed that the stunt was part of an autonomous car test. Now, Ford has admitted that it was in on the research. In a blog post, the firm said it was involved in the stunt that shocked the internet and Virginia residents, who saw the car on the roads and thought it didn't have a single human inside. The test was designed to learn how hand waves and other informal language between pedestrians and drivers - and the lack thereof when cars go driverless - affects driving. It's been known the viral video showing a man disguised in a car seat costume controlling a silver van was part of a self-driving car test and not just a spoof, but it's now been revealed Ford was in on it In August, Virginia residents were shocked to see a car with no driver on the streets.
Driverless vehicles are being tested on public roads in a number of countries.Credit: Prostock/Getty Last month, for the first time, a pedestrian was killed in an accident involving a self-driving car. A sports-utility vehicle controlled by an autonomous algorithm hit a woman who was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona. The safety driver inside the vehicle was unable to prevent the crash. Although such accidents are rare, their incidence could rise as more vehicles that are capable of driving without human intervention are tested on public roads. In the past year, several countries have passed laws to pave the way for such trials.
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Plaza here is a strip mall with a pet-accessories store, a Thai restaurant and a yogurt shop, an unlikely venue to display the high-tech future. But one Saturday morning in March, Google did just that. A small convoy of its driverless cars cruised into the fading asphalt parking lot to give test drives – test rides, actually – to American mayors visiting Austin's annual South by Southwest tech-and-culture festival. Mayor Richard J. Berry of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was impressed with how the cars dodged pedestrians and fallen tree limbs. Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose, California, right in Google's backyard, was impressed that he got to see the cars at all. "These things are crawling all over my city" in tests, "but I had to come to Austin to ride in one," said Liccardo. "This is going to change cities."
Cars that can drive themselves have already logged millions of miles, but with a driver poised to take over if needed. Waymo, a branch of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is offering commuters in Phoenix the ability to hail a Chrysler minivan without anyone behind the wheel. Audi expects to begin selling a version of its A8 sedan that can take over completely in traffic jams and similar situations. And next year, General Motors Co. has promised to put robot taxis into service. Decades in the making, the driverless dream holds the promise of drastically reducing deaths on the highway.
This car is all yours, with no one up front," the pop-up notification from the Waymo app reads. "This ride will be different. With no one else in the car, Waymo will do all the driving. Moments later, an empty Chrysler Pacifica minivan appears and navigates its way to my location near a park in Chandler, the Phoenix suburb where Waymo has been testing its autonomous vehicles since 2016. More than a dozen journalists experienced driverless rides in 2017 on a closed course at Waymo's testing facility in Castle; and Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, took a driverless ride in the company's Firefly prototype on Austin's city streets way back in 2015.