A “driver-less” van spotted in Virginia last week had its driver behind the wheel dressed as a car seat to give an illusion it was empty.
The gray van tracked down in Arlington by News4 Washington was moving by itself, but then a reporter spotted a man inside wearing a beige and black disguise posing as the car’s front seat.
The unidentified driver and the van are part of a study the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is conducting on automated vehicles.
“The driver’s seating area is configured to make the driver less visible within the vehicle, while still allowing him or her the ability to safely monitor and respond to surroundings,” the institute said on its website Monday.
A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute spokeswoman declined to say whether the driver was told to wear that particular uniform.
The institute hopes the automated vehicles would reduce traffic congestion, increase safety and provide solutions for those who can’t drive.
Arlington was chosen as the location for the study “because it is representative of the urban areas for which automated vehicles are currently being considered,” the institute said, adding that Arlington officials were aware of the project.
However, spokespersons for the Virginia Department of Transportation and Arlington Police Department told the TV station they had no clue about the vehicle.