Driverless Car Completes Historic Cross-Country Trip

Delphi Automotive's self-driving car completed its 3,500-mile trip from San Francisco to New York, setting the North America record for longest drive ever by a driverless car. No incidents were reported.

It’s official: Delphi Automotive’s self-driving car completed it’s 3,500-mile trip from San Francisco, California to New York, setting the North American record for longest drive ever by a driverless car.

Delphi’s self-driving car, which is modeled after a 2014 Audi SQ5 and debuted at CES 2015, features six long-range radars, four short-range radars, three vision-based cameras, six lidars, a localization system, intelligent software algorithms and a full suite of Advanced Drive Assistance Systems.

The car can manage four-way stops, merge onto highways, and steer around unexpected presences in the roadway, such as a bicyclist.

And it seemed to do all this fine along its record-breaking trip, as there were no incidents reported. Although there were several humans in the car in case precautions were needed.

Delphi described the trip as the car’s “ultimate test” as it would be “challenged under a variety of driving conditions from changing weather and terrain to potential road hazards - things that could never truly be tested in a lab.” Delphi gathered more than 2 terabytes of data that it can use to improve its future automated driving systems.

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Admittedly,  Delphi’s test involved mostly highway driving, so there was minimal exposure to difficult scenarios that can pop up in city and even urban driving. But this also isn’t Delphi’s first rodeo. Delphi has driven back and forth between San Francisco and Los Angeles numerous times, testing its system all the way down I-5. And ABC News reports that the only time a human driver needed to take over the car on a recent eight-mile test drive was when the car had to unexpectedly merge into another lane due to road construction.

The longest trip ever made by a driverless car was an 8,000-mile journey from Europe to Shanghai in 2010 when a self-driving van from Italian company VisLab made the three-month trek.

You might remember Audi’s self-driving A7 car, Jack that completed a two-day, 550-mile trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Las Vegas in time for CES 2015. It was a gamble for Audi because at CES 2014, Jack failed while driving along an open stretch of freeway, requiring a human driver take the wheel.

Delphi captured the entire trip on video, in photos and on Twitter. Check out the video recaps of each day below in the Delphi Drive 2015 YouTube Playlist.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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