This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
Israel’s Mobileye, maker of safety systems that alert drivers of dangers ahead, is likely to be an integral part of the driverless car future, to judge from the results of the longest-ever – and most successful – driverless car demonstration.
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Completed last week, just in time for this week’s New York Auto Show, a driverless vehicle supplied by international car parts maker Delphi Automotive traversed the 3,000-odd miles from San Francisco to Manhattan in nine days, driving itself nearly the entire way – with Mobileye’s road safety detection system providing the “eyes” for the Roadrunner as it passed through cities, towns, deserts and forests, on its way to the big city. The drive, according to Delphi, was the longest and most data-intensive autonomous car trip ever undertaken.
In previous tests, the company had successfully navigated its vehicle throughout Los Angeles and Las Vegas but it was time, said Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer, “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.”
For legal and safety reasons – and perhaps, because Delphi engineers were just a bit nervous – a team of human drivers followed the Roadrunner, keeping tabs on how it behaved in traffic and on the open road.
The nine-day trip traversed 15 states and the District of Columbia. Along the way, the vehicle encountered complex driving situations such as traffic circles, construction zones, bridges, tunnels, aggressive drivers and a variety of weather conditions.
Crucial to the success of the Roadrunner’s journey was the vehicle’s “eyes” — its radar, vision and Advanced Drive Assistance Systems (ADAS), most of which were supplied by Mobileye.
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Photos and video courtesy of Delphi Automotive