This driverless car thing seems to be catching on…

Posted on October 28, 2010
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From Yahoo News

SHANGHAI – Across Eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Gobi Desert — it certainly was a long way to go without getting lost.

Four driverless electric vans successfully ended an 8,000-mile (13,000-kilometer) test drive from Italy to China — a modern-day version of Marco Polo’s journey around the world — with their arrival at the Shanghai Expo on Thursday.

The vehicles, equipped with four solar-powered laser scanners and seven video cameras that work together to detect and avoid obstacles, are part of an experiment aimed at improving road safetyand advancing automotive technology.

The sensors on the vehicles enabled them to navigate through wide extremes in road, traffic and weather conditions, while collecting data to be analyzed for further research, in a study sponsored by the European Research Council.

“We didn’t know the route, I mean what the roads would have been and if we would have found nice roads, traffic, lots of traffic, medium traffic, crazy drivers or regular drivers, so we encountered the lot,” said Isabella Fredriga, a research engineer for the project.

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