Driverless Audi to travel from Silicon Valley to New York

An Audi SUV is about to make history as it embarks on a 3,500 mile journey from San Francisco on the west coast of the US to New York on the east coast - minus a driver.

The Audi SQ5, which will begin its journey on Sunday, will test Delphi's suite of advanced driving assistance systems, its wireless communications and automated driving software.

The company already demonstrated a driverless Audi A7 which made its way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in January this year in a bid to put their technology to the test with road hazards, weather and terrain issues, "things that could never be truly tested in a lab", the firm said.

It added that the navigation system, cameras and sensors are controlled by "intelligent software" that lets the car make complex "human-like decisions for real-world automated driving" in a statement.

The combination of semi-autonomous features include a traffic jam assistance, highway pilot with lane change, automated parking and valet features.

Jeff Owens, the firm's chief technology officer said: "Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas.

"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."

Six Delphi engineers will be cruising in the Audi throughout the journey.

The news will come as a blow to the UK, who is trying to position itself as a main player in the driverless car space. As it stands, trials in the UK have begun but only on electronic shuttles, rather than traditional road vehicles.

However, this could be set to change as the chancellor announced a £100 million boost to the research and development of car technology in his budget yesterday.


Margi Murphy

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