An Audi SUV outfitted with self-driving technology from developer Delphi is about to make a record-setting trip from San Francisco to New York — the longest ever by an autonomous vehicle in North America.
The SQ5 outfitted with the latest version of Delphi tech demonstrated at CES 2015 will leave from the Golden Gate Bridge on March 22 and travel 3,500 miles to New York, all the while carrying six engineers charged with collecting valuable data.
“Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas,” Delphi CTO Jeff Owens said in a company statement. “Now it’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions.”
“This drive will help us collect invaluable data in our quest to deliver the best automotive grade technologies on the market.”
Delphi’s Advanced Drive Assistance Systems (ADAS) uses radar, camera, wireless and powerful microprocessor technology to power features for every driving situation including “Traffic Jam Assist,” “Automated Highway Pilot with Lane Change (on-ramp to off-ramp highway pilot),” “Automated Urban Pilot” and “Automated Parking and Valet.”
According to the company, “Delphi’s active safety technologies enable the vehicle to instantaneously make complex decisions, like stopping and then proceeding at a four-way stop, timing a highway merge or calculating the safest maneuver around a bicyclist on a city street.”
While most automobile manufacturer’s automated highway driving and lane change systems are already fully capable, urban driving has proven to be a challenge due to the range of unexpected obstacles human drivers tackle every day (road closures, pedestrians, etc.).
Delphi is one among a number of technology developers working to solve those issues for automobile developers with advanced computing.
Another is advanced graphics developer NVIDIA with its Drive PX developer kit coming to manufacturers later this year, which Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk endorsed during an event earlier this week. (RELATED: Elon Musk: The Cars You’re Driving Today Will Eventually Be Outlawed)