Delphi has engineered a fully autonomous PLC (Programmable logic controller) vehicle dubbed as 'Roadrunner' which could handle and maneuver effectively in the busy streets of cities like California, that too totally unmanned.
From traffic circles to pedestrian-filled roads, this vehicle can dodge it all. Equipped with all sort of sensors and over-the-top tech, it set on a never-attempted 3,500 mile trip from coast-to-coast, that is from California to New York in North America and has successfully completed the 9 day trip without any crashes or faults. Only 1% of the total trip was maneuvered manually by a driver to pass through tricky unexpected situations like a road block, police block or a construction site, apart from those situations it was able to get through cyclists, busy crossings, heavy traffic and sharp turnings. Crossing 15 states in the 9-day duration, it gathered as much as 3 terabytes of data which the engineers at Deplhi Automotive plan to use it to make its future automatic systems better and more effective.
The customized Audi A5 used comes with specialized laser sensors, radar navigators and 6 LIDARS - a radar system employed by many driver-less car manufacturers like Google and Mercedes-Benz to detect obstacles in the pathways and in addition to the sensors, it is heavily integrated with cameras to view and map its route.
“Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas,” says Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer. “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.”
Even though Delphi succeeded in making a fully autonomous driver-less-car, it may take up to a decade or two for the world to rely on such tech because these autonomous systems can't yet take decisions under unexpected situations while navigating but nevertheless, Delphi is surely headed towards the direct direction.