Delphi Automotive's Autonomous Car Drives Itself Across Country

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Delphi Automotive's Autonomous Car Drives Itself Across Country

Self Driving Cars
Car parts maker, Delphi completed the longest automated drive in North America recently, traveling from San Francisco to New York in the first coast-to-coast trip ever taken by an automated vehicle.  

Google may have been testing its autonomous car prototype for a while now, covering over 700,000 miles without a serious incident, but most of these tests have been conducted in California, in a somewhat safe and controlled environment. Now, Delphi Automotive, the global supplier of automotive parts, has taken autonomous car testing a step further, completing a first of its kind trip across the United States.

The auto parts manufacturing company, based in the UK, announced earlier this year that it would put a driverless car prototype based on the Audi SQ5 platform on a coast-to-coast journey, which it expected to complete in just under two weeks. The car started the trip in San Francisco on March 22nd, when it left the Golden Gate bridge, with Manhattan as its final destination, where it arrived Match 31st, three days early, leaving plenty of time to make an appearance at the New York Auto Show.

Delphi Self-Driving Car
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It was a 3,500-mile cross-country trip, which the SUV completed all by itself, using similar equipment to that installed on Google's self-driving car. The Audi SQ5 was fitted with a series of high-tech devices that allowed it to perform even the most complicated driving maneuvers without the help of a human driver. It has a LIDAR laser, which scans the road ahead of the car and creates a 3D map for it, along with cameras, which should help the car recognize road signs, traffic lights and lane markings, and mid-range and long-range radars, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology. All of these features have been developed by Delphi Automotive, itself. On top of this, the SUV is equipped with a few advanced safety systems that are aimed at avoiding and preventing collisions, such as automated parking, automated highway pilot and automated urban pilot.

"It’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions."

The company said that the main goal of this unique venture is to test its autonomous driving technology and active safety systems, noting that it doesn't intend on building a driverless vehicle, itself. During this trip, the car made its way through different road and weather conditions, and had to face a wide array of real-world traffic scenarios, including merging onto a highway, driving next to or passing a bicycle rider or a motorcyclist, or stopping at an intersection.

“It’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions,” says Delphi Chief Technology Officer, Jeff Owens.

However, the SQ5 was not be all by itself on this trip, as a team of Delphi engineers occupied it, testing the systems and collect data, along with a licensed driver, who would be able to take over in case some of the autonomous driving systems failed. Also, putting a licensed driver behind the wheel was necessary to comply with regulations that are in effect in most of the states the car drove through.

"It actually worked better than we thought," says a Delphi engineer in the video below. "It exceeded our expectations."

According to Delphi, self-driving cars will not hit the streets before 2020, and even though it will not enter the business of building cars, the UK-company intends to be a serious player in the future autonomous driving market, which is expected to grow substantially in the years to come.

By Jordan PerchEmbed

Author Bio - A regulary 33rd Square contributor, Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “driving app” specialist. He is a writer for, which is a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of “dealing with the DMV.”