NBC News Just Stumbled Onto a Silly-Stupid Self-Driving Car Prank

Adam Tuss

In a few short years, self-driving cars will be a common sight in certain areas of major cities, and, eventually, human drivers will probably be useless on the roads. But in the mean time, it turns out it’s pretty dang funny to stick a seat cover over your head and pretend to be a “self-driving car.”

That appears to be the case in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday. NBC News transportation reporter Adam Tuss came across a “self-driving van” on the road, but upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a dude with a car seat cover, or costume, over his head, steering with his hands on the very bottom of the wheel. The video, well, the video is pretty amazing.

Tuss was attempting to track down reports of a “self-driving van” in the Arlington area, which was widely reported by local publications late last week. You can read this amusingly updated DCist story for the full saga, but essentially, some bemused residents saw a car with no driver toolin’ around the greater D.C. area. Tuss, on the hunt for an un-publicized self-driving car test on his hometown’s streets, decided to find it, and sure enough, he was successful, and even delivered the immortal line “I’m with the news, dude.”

It also turns out, as he noted, that this prank has been floating around YouTube for a while — this is just the first time it’s been on the news.

Let’s also pause for a moment to give Tuss full credit here. Tuss chased down a man in a car seat costume in a driving rainstorm, apparently in the middle of the road at a stoplight, then pursued the driver as he drove away (again, still wearing a car seat cover). He’s been lauded by his colleagues, who suggested that he join the NBC Investigations team, and honestly, he probably deserves it.

Related Tags