A few days ago, a mysterious and seemingly driverless minivan was spotted by many on the streets of Washington DC. The baffled on-lookers shared videos and pictures online, fervently hoping to unravel the mystery.
But as it turns out, the car wasn’t actually driverless. It had a driver alright – disguised as a front seat, as NBC Washington reporter Adam Tuss discovered in a video that he posted online (above).
Much to Tuss’s shock, he spotted the hidden driver dressed in the seat costume, his hands visible behind the car’s transparent glass window. Though he called out to the person repeatedly and asked what they were doing, the hidden driver did not respond. “I’m with the news, dude,” Tuss insisted but even that didn’t get him a response.
The car was apparently part of an experiment by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute on how people react to the technology. The goal of the study was to learn how autonomous vehicles should be designed to protect pedestrians.
Here’s one of the videos of the van that had surfaced on the internet not very long ago: