This week marked the end of an interesting nine-day, 3,400 mile cross-country trip through 15 states with a self-driving car piloted by autonomous vehicle (AV) technology developed by Delphi Automotive PLC and shown off earlier this year at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer, said the company’s AV system controlled the Audi sedan 99% of the time during the San Francisco, CA, to New York, NY, journey, with Delphi’s engineers collecting nearly three terabytes of data – about 30% of all of the printed material in the Library of Congress – along the way for this research project. [To view video clips from all nine days of this trip, click here.]
“Our vehicle performed remarkably well during this drive, exceeding our expectations,” Owens added. “The knowledge obtained from this trip will help optimize our existing active safety products and accelerate our future product development, which will allow us to deliver unsurpassed automotive grade technologies to our customers.”
Delphi's engineering team bequeathed the nickname “Roadrunner” upon its Audi AV as it nimbly used six long-range radars, four short-range radars, three vision-based cameras, six LIDAR (light detection and ranging) pulse sensor arrays, a localization system, intelligent software algorithms and a full suite of advanced drive assistance (ADA) systems so the car could navigate mountains, heat, traffic jams, pass trucks, deftly maneuver through road construction and even avoid tumbleweed all on its own.
This is an impressive achievement, no doubt. Now the trick will be to get the public to allow such technology to take over the wheel.