Delphi’s Self-Driving Car Is Taking a Cross-Country Road Trip

14 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Delphi is planning to test the limits of self-driving car technology in a 3,500 mile test drive from San Francisco to New York..

DETROIT — Delphi Automotive, a supplier of automotive electronics, is undertaking the longest test of a driverless car, going coast to coast with a specially outfitted Audi Q5 sport-utility vehicle.Delphi will drive an autonomous car 3,500 miles across the country — from San Francisco to New York – in a coast-to-coast test-drive that will push self-driving car technology to its limits.

A team of Delphi engineers will leave California in an Audi SQ5 loaded with special cameras, radar and software on March 22 hoping to arrive in New York City during the first week of the New York International Auto Show. The SQ5 is one of four vehicles Delphi has modified for autonomous driving duty, with an array of sensors, LIDAR, radar, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and a multi-domain controller processing an estimated two terabytes of data that will collected during the trip.

The cross-country trip will include tests on its radar, vision and advanced-drive assistance systems, certain vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, and intelligent software, which includes automated highway pilot with lane-change technology, automated urban pilot and automated parking functions. But even with all that gear, the autonomous Audi will only drive itself on the highway – Delphi can do stop signs and pedestrian detection, but this is just as much about making headlines as it is about proving real-world functionality. Though a driver will be behind the wheel throughout the journey, Delphi says its active safety technologies can make complex decisions, like stopping and proceeding at four-way stops, timing highway merges and calculating safe maneuvers around bicyclists. We’re going to learn a lot.” Automakers are racing to put autonomous cars on the road as a solution to global gridlock expected as more than 9 billion people move to large megacities within the next 25 years. While much of the technology necessary for semi-autonomous cars — such as lane departure systems and adaptive cruise control — already exists, Owens contends it will take 20 years or more before fully-autonomous cars are sold to the general public. “A lot of things need to be solved to get to autonomous driving,” Owens said. “We don’t have the regulatory environment (necessary) anywhere in the world and we don’t have the legal framework.” But Owens said Delphi isn’t worried about how long it will take for fully autonomous cars to go mainstream because automakers are already moving full-speed ahead with the development and deployment of technology.

While California has certain motor-vehicle laws that help regulate autonomous vehicles, it was unclear whether Delphi needs special arrangements or permission from other states to conduct automated-vehicle testing elsewhere – or if those concerns might be negated by an active driver. The market for autonomous technology will grow to $42 billion by 2025 and self-driving cars may account for a quarter of global auto sales by 2035, according to Boston Consulting Group. Delphi will take a southern route before completing its journey at either the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, or Liberty State Park near the Statue of Liberty. Mercedes-Benz revealed a sleek sedan called the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car earlier this year and is testing it in California while Google has made waves with its cute, bubble-like car.

The software that interprets the data drawn from those systems and the algorithms that help the car make driving decisions were developed jointly by Delphi and Ottomatika – a company started by Carnegie Mellon University. Delphi’s engineers have has already tested the vehicle on the roads in busy downtown Las Vegas, where they had to dodge drunk pedestrians falling down in front of the car and navigate extremely congested traffic.

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