When Delphi engineers undertook a nine-day, 3,400-mile journey from San Francisco to New York in a driverless research vehicle in March, they got some interesting reactions from other motorists.
Mike Pozsar, vice president of electronic controls, told a crowd at the Automated Vehicle Symposium in Ann Arbor, Mich., last week that the test vehicle obeyed traffic laws at all times -- even when that meant going 55 mph when the rest of traffic was moving much faster.
"You can imagine the reaction of the drivers around us. Oh, boy. It's a good thing engineers have thick skin. All kinds of indecent hand gestures were made to our drivers," said Pozsar.
But those honked-off motorists were in for a shock once they drew abreast of the vehicle.
"When people passed us, they'd see no one had their hands on the steering wheel. Then they'd slow down, and that caused another set of situations," he said. "You'd have gawkers."