Ford is constantly working on improving its self-driving technology, but recently, the company decided to study the reactions of others when the autonomous Ford Transit took to the streets. Ford used a car seat disguise to see how people reacted to an autonomous Ford Transit.
The purpose of the study was to gauge reactions of those outside the autonomous Ford Transit. You can’t just unleash an empty van on public streets, though. Lawmakers still require a person in the vehicle during autonomous tests. To meet their requirements, Ford put a man in a car seat disguise to gather information.
The study was conducted with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). A light bar mounted to the windshield communicated what the vehicle was doing. The light bar had signals for stopping, yielding, and accelerating.
Ford and VTTI previously performed virtual reality tests to determine that communicate via gestures and less obvious signals than a light bar need to be learned. The light bar may need some tweaking, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction to replace subtle gestures, like a nod of the head.
Here at Paul Obaugh Ford, we are happy to see Ford’s autonomous technology coming along so well.