Driverless vans complete 8,000 miles test drive from Italy to China

October 28th, 2010 - 9:04 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Shanghai, Oct 28 (THAINDIAN NEWS) The 8,000 mile long journey of a driverless car from Italy to China has been completed successfully.

The four electric cars were on a test drive. They were equipped with the latest navigational gadgets to aid in the travel. The four cars reached the Shanghai Expo on Thursday to mark the end of the journey.

The test was part of a research partly sponsored by the European Research Council to improve road safety.

The success of the drive test will undoubtedly bring a great joy to the scientists. Though the vehicles were driverless, engineers and other scientists were on board to take control of the car if any of the computers failed. That arrangement was needed just some few times during the journey. For example, in a Moscow traffic jam, the escorting researchers had to intervene to ensure that the cause behaved properly.

The vehicles which made most of the decisions for itself during the journey used an advanced computerized artificial vision called GOLD for that purpose. For instance the vehicles adjusted their speed by scanning the road they were on and analyzing the information.

The leader of the research, Alberto Broggi of Vislab at the University of Parma in Italy explained how the vehicles controlled the steering wheel with the following statement “This steering wheel is controlled by the PC. So the PC sends a command and the steering wheel moves and turns and we can follow the road, follow the curves and avoid obstacles with this”.

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