I'll put some info and a link below but essentially they'll be at the harder end of NPC's, have some intelligence but at the moment have no bounties, or loot. I expect that to change once it releases with the Tiamat expansion on February the 17th.
This news also saves the Tiamat expansion from being a pretty ordinary update in my opinion.
The Drifters are upon us, and they are not to be trifled with. The new NPC faction (or Jovian sub faction) will enter the game in the next expansion, Taimat, dropping on February 17th. The Drifters pilot extraordinary battleships that are set up to challenge even the most experienced players. Much like Incursions and burner missions, this is more high end PVE content from CCP.
The Drifters are not your typical NPC’s. They are built on the new the AI (Tale System) that was introduced with Incursions, improved upon in Burner missions, and is being used to power Circadian Seekers and, now, the Drifter battleships. The future of PVE is highly intelligent and coordinated enemies that will chase you, wait you out, and mercilessly pod you. A truly terrifying experience. So far, they will not attack you unless you provoke them by attacking them first. Drifters, however, are a new faction and have standings so, conceivably, they will attack on sight if you have low standings with them.
The origin of these Drifters is shrouded in mystery, but they seem to be related to the Jove. Their spawns are found around unknown structures (aka, listening towers) and strange wormholes found in New Eden, regardless of security rating. Some players speculate they have come here through wormholes, while others suspect they have been here a long time and are just now being discovered or declaoked. Lore enthusiasts are relishing the speculation, as many theories and clues are pieced together. Officially, no one knows who they are or what they want.