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A Researcher Disguised Himself as a Car Seat to Teach Driverless Cars How to Communicate With Humans


An apparently driverless car, driven by a researcher disguised as a car seat.

Researchers are working to make sure autonomous vehicles can emit some kind of replacement for the subtle cues that drivers and pedestrians rely on to stay safe.

Credit: Guardian Wires/YouTube

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) are teaching autonomous vehicles to communicate with humans.

The trials involve scientists costumed as car seats to give the appearance that no one is driving the vehicles while experiments are conducted.

The researchers note the disguise renders drivers less visible while enabling them to safely monitor and respond to surroundings.

The researchers say the study "is investigating the potential need for additional exterior signals on automated vehicles. This research is relevant for ensuring pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers are accommodated."

Scientists from Virginia Tech, Ford Motor Company, the University of Leeds in the U.K., and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan raised related issues at a July symposium. Such issues include how cars should communicate with others on the road while they are in motion, stopped, or transitioning, as well as whether standardizing such communication is sensible.

From The Washington Post
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