Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
AI Transportation Technology

Driverless Cars Begin 8,000-Mile Trek 151

apoc.famine writes "Driverless technology from the University of Parma's VisLab was deployed in a real-world test on Tuesday. Two driverless chase vehicles will attempt to follow two lead vehicles across multiple continents, from Italy to China, over the course of three months. The journey will cover over 8,000 miles, (~13,000 km) as the chase vehicles use lasers and cameras to navigate hazards along the way. The team expects to collect about 100 TB of data, which requires a hefty electronics and battery load — the scale is such that the cars can only run for about three hours before needing 8 hours to recharge the batteries. This journey is being billed as just a test, and far from a real-world application. The vehicles don't go more than about 35mph, and need a person behind the wheel to take over at a moment's notice. 'What we are trying to do is stress our systems and see if they can work in a real environment, with real weather, real traffic, and crazy people who cross the road in front of you and a vehicle that cuts you off,' said project leader Alberto Broggi. The goal is not to produce just road vehicles, but to improve the technology so it can be used in military and agricultural roles as well. The team hopes to have helped mature the technology within the next 10-20 years to the point that it can be used on the road."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Driverless Cars Begin 8,000-Mile Trek

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @02:36AM (#32974596)
    My first thought when reading this initially was, "what could possibly go wrong?" but the more I think about it, the less scary it actually is. With a lot of the drivers I encounter regularly it seems like there's nobody driving them anyways. I understand there's more important things to do other than steer the several thousand pound vehicle you're operating, things such as eating, doing makeup, and texting on your phone. In all seriousness I'm looking forward to the day when I can use my commute time for productive things like homework or reviewing notes on the way to class, but I think it's going to be a while before driving AI is reliable enough to trust to deal with the idiotic driving habits of people without paying it any mind.
  • by Mr_Miagi ( 1648543 ) <> on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @03:36AM (#32974800)
    .. starting from Italy?!

    They'll most likely be barged off the road by the hand-waving angry Italian motorists!

  • Re:Digital Driver (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zarzu ( 1581721 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @04:01AM (#32974876)
    they thought of flying cars... and we still don't have them.
  • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @04:49AM (#32975052)

    Almost every point you wrote down increases the amount of traffic on the roads and the amount of fuel used.

  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:11AM (#32975144) Homepage

    True to some degree. But many, even most, of those trips (go charge somewhere, transports) would happen with or without self-driving cars. And it's not clear to me that a car going directly to a somewhat distant parking garage is actually using any more energy than a car circling for fifteen minutes looking for a convenient nearby spot.

    The smoother, slower ride of an unhurried automatic car will use less energy than the jerky stop-and-go of impatient human drivers. And as they act as pace cars there'll be a positive effect on all drivers, not just on the automatic cars.

    So while your point is something to be concerned about I suspect the actual impact would be much less than you'd think at first.

  • by Krneki ( 1192201 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:54AM (#32975384)
    * New taxes to replace all the lost ones.
  • Re:BIG WOW? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wisdom_brewing ( 557753 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @07:02AM (#32975690) Homepage
    is it confidence in the technology or legal requirement?
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @07:05AM (#32975710)

    * The cars will be scrupulous about obeying traffic laws and speed limits. But even with a small part self-driving cars, they will act as pace cars and slow and smooth traffic for everyone. Even more so, as they'll be recording everything happening around them, and other drivers know it. Pace will be slower, but people will arrive sooner.

    I don't know what you're smoking, but when I was in Germany, the blitz camera (for speeding) in my part of town didn't cause people to go slower except in the very spot it was in. It caused enough rage that it was actually shot at night on multiple occasions.

    In America, I live near a highway still marked an antiquated 55 mph, and everyone goes at least 70 mph. In my experience, there is nothing magically special or wise about the arbitrary speed limits, except they are set way too low in order for the cops to generate revenue on demand.

    Your little do-good buggy will a) in fact slow me down on the highway causing me to get there slower and b) cause road rage in someone that will drive that little piece of shit off the road, taped or not.

    As for you pace car idea, here is the execution in real life: []

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @07:23AM (#32975780)
    Totally autonomous cars also mean surrendering control and anonymity. Is the reduction of traffic jams and maybe a reduction of accidents worth being tracked in real time? One might even have to declare how many occupants for the levying of fuel/power consumption taxes. Law-and-order types will demand only legal citizens be allowed on the 'auto' roads (papers, please). Oh, and since you can't have a mix of manual and guided cars sharing the same road, the poor need not bother (to the mud and washboard for you lot!).

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?