Back in August, transportation reporter Adam Tuss recorded this unintentionally hilarious video in Virginia:
Tuss had come across an apparently autonomous Ford Transit, but saw the man's hands sticking out of the "seat" when he approached the car.
Now Ford has revealed just what the heck was going on. They were conducting an experiment in collaboration with Virginia Tech's Transportation Institute to see how pedestrians react to autonomous vehicles, without having to worry about the hassles/paperwork of actual autonomy:
It does raise an interesting question, of how autonomous vehicles can signal intent to replace those unspoken eye-contact interactions that occasionally occur between motorist and pedestrians. It will be fun to see the dynamic signage design experimentation each manufacturer will engage in. Ultimately, though, I imagine the government will mandate some kind of standard, as they did with third brake lights.