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Delphi Self-Driving Car Begins World's First 3500-Mile Cross-Country Trip

22 March 2015, 11:03 pm EDT By Christian de Looper Tech Times
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While auto companies are scrambling to develop autonomous technology, one car will be driving itself across the country, from San Francisco to New York City.

The car was built by Delphi, an automotive equipment manufacturer, and the drive is partly for research and partly for publicity. Of course, the driver-less car will arrive in New York in time for the New York auto show.

"Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas," said Delphi Chief Technology Officer Jeff Owens. "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."

The car is an Audi SQ5 outfitted with Delphi's tech, and has been tested on shorter drives in California and Nevada. Delphi believes the drive across the country will help it collect more insight and expects to collect a total of 2.3 terabytes of data during the trip.

News surrounding autonomous cars seems to be making headlines ever day. Tesla recently announced the next update to the Tesla Model S will allow the car to drive itself, despite the fact it is still unclear as to whether or not this type of technology is legal.

The Delphi car's "brain" was developed in partnership with Ottomatika, which takes the data from the sensors during test drives and created a virtual environment for the car, which it uses to apply driving behaviors.

The trip itself will take eight days, and the car will not drive for more than eight hours per day. This will allow the car to complete the tip in daylight, stick to the speed limit, and keep the human passengers, who will make sure that everything runs smoothly, comfortable.

It's important to note the car will only operate autonomously on highways, with human drivers taking the wheel once the car gets into a city.

One problem the car might encounter is the legality of the situation. California and Nevada have both legalized the testing of autonomous cars, however other states have yet to make the same move. This will especially create problems if something goes wrong, and will raise questions as to the future of self-driving cars.

"In the rest of the states it's not precluded, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's legal," said John Absmeier, director of Delphi's global automated vehicle business. "So we're taking every precaution and we've notified the states ahead of time."

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