Automotive component-supplier Delphi is about to launch a self-driving Audi SUV on a 3,500-mile journey from San Francisco to New York.
The trip, which will begin March 22 near the Golden Gate Bridge, will end in New York City. It is the first cross-country trip by a fully autonomous vehicle, and arguably the longest anyone has made.
The autonomous Audi SQ5 is making the trip in order to test Delphi's suite of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure wireless communications and automated driving software.
Two months ago, Delphi demonstrated a self-driving Audi A7, named "Jack," which made a 560-mile trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Delphi's automated driving vehicle leverages a full suite of technologies and features to make this trip possible. The navigation system, cameras and sensors are all controlled by intelligent software that enables the vehicle to make complex, "human-like decisions for real-world automated driving," the company said in a statement.
Functions such as Delphi's Traffic Jam Assist, Automated Highway Pilot with Lane Change (on-ramp to off-ramp highway pilot), Automated Urban Pilot, and Automated Parking and Valet features will all be put through their paces on the cross-country journey.
There will also be six Delphi engineers making the trip with the car.
The vehicle won't just be using the interstate highway system. Delphi said during the cross-country trek, it will be challenged under a variety of driving conditions from changing weather and terrain to potential road hazards, "things that could never truly be tested in a lab."
"Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas," said 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."