For your information, an autonomous car just drove across the country! Nine days ago, the robocar left San Francisco and has rolled into New York City after covering 3,400 miles and crossing 15 states. The car did 99 percent of driving on its own with only a carbon-based life form behind the wheel when it was required to leave the highway and drive into the city streets.
The robocar, made by automotive supplier Delphi, reflects the great leaps this technology has made in the recent past. Still, there are many legislative and regulatory questions to be answered, and it remains to be seen whether drivers are willing to cede the control of their cars. However, one thing stands, the hardware is up to the task.
What is remarkable here is not the fact that Delphi managed to complete this trip. It is because several companies including Audi, Mercedes or Google could have done it. The remarkable thing is that it was so easy.
As Jeff Miller, an associate professor at the University of Southern California puts it “The technology is not what is most notable from this trip, the fact that they drove as far as they did and had a lot of publicity will help the technology more than any hardware or programming on that vehicle.”
Delphi’s stunning speed
In addition, the speed that the technology has reached is stunning. To imagine that at the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge, the best of the autonomous vehicles of the day could only manage 7.32 miles after which the vehicle were stuck and went up in flames. In 2005, five vehicles completed a 132-mile course but they took 7 hours to do so. Since then, autonomous vehicles have made great strides because the auto industry takes between 5 and seven years to develop a new car.
Google Still the Leader In Robocars
Currently, many world’s major automakers are working on an autonomous technology with Nissan, Volvo, Mercedes Benz, and Audi leading the pack. Google appears to be more advanced than all of them. Google’s self-driving cars can recognize and even respond to hand signals from a cop directing traffic. Google has racked up more than 700,000 miles with its autonomous vehicle. Audi’s robocar also completed a road trip from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas. However, Delphi is doing just much work though behind the scenes, and it is probably going to propel us towards the day when we will no longer be required to hold the wheel.