Driverless cars used for the first time to drive 25 miles at a track in Florida
A driverless car is being tested on the streets of Florida, its first stop on a journey leading to its maiden public race.
Driverless car talks, hums and rolls towards safety Read more
The Advanced Mixed Reality Vehicle-Driver Assistance System (AMR-VADAS) – otherwise known as the Roborace car – is carrying out the first set of real-world tests on the streets of Miami.
Twenty-five miles have been covered during two trials. The driverless pod, fitted with several video cameras and antennae, travelled along surface streets and a highway before returning to its parking space.
The car has some highly sophisticated sensors fitted to see around obstacles, driving up to its sensors’ normal limits and safely navigating around the various obstacles – pedestrians, other vehicles, signs and other parking spaces – ahead of it.
It uses a computer to follow the driver through the car’s steering wheel – it looks to be considering some roles a person might do – and a tiny mannequin to act as the passenger.
The tests are being conducted by the US Navy, racing car team Roborace and autonomous vehicle technology firm Nuro.
Testing has taken place at Florida International University in Miami, and are expected to continue there.
“We can imagine all sorts of applications for these vehicles,” Roborace’s co-founder Nicolas Newman said in a blogpost. “It can navigate open city streets using GPS, a turn signal, oncoming traffic and so on. As technology advances, more driverless scenarios emerge … ”
Newman said testing to trial the cars on public roads had begun last year in Norway. The company has since partnered with dozens of companies and carmakers, including Delphi, Audi, the Renault-Nissan alliance, McLaren, Honda, Nokia, Qualcomm and Argo AI.
Roborace plans to put 20 cars on the road for its first FIA-approved race next year and dozens in 2020, with all cars connected to an intelligent control centre that controls their speed, braking and steering.
Roborace’s system requires drivers to sit behind the wheel at all times but engineers suggest having them sit in a car prone to accidents. Newman said safety tests had not yet been completed and it would take several weeks for the initial testing to run its course.
The first Roborace race will take place in Qingdao, China, in March.