Autonomous car completes 3,400-mile trip from San Francisco to New York

7 Apr 2015

Delphi's Roadrunner in action

Automotive company Delphi just sent its autonomous car ‘Roadrunner’ from coast to coast in the US.

Managing to navigate itself through the 3,400-mile trip, Roadrunner had to encounter standard driving environments such as roundabouts, tunnels, bad weather and even aggressive drivers.

Featuring a swathe of technologies and features, Roadrunner accumulated three terabytes of data throughout the trip, offering some significant research for the future of driverless cars.

The company claims it covered 99pc of the trip in fully automated mode, making you immediately query the suspicious 1pc drop rather than sit impressed at the hugely emphatic result.

“Our vehicle performed remarkably well during this drive, exceeding our expectations,” said Jeff Owens, Delphi chief technology officer. 

“The knowledge obtained from this trip will help optimise our existing active safety products and accelerate our future product development, which will allow us to deliver unsurpassed automotive grade technologies to our customers.”


The Roadrunner heading into New York

A team of engineers travelled throughout, some in Roadrunner, some following close behind, tracking its route, monitoring its readings and garnering as much research as possible.

The achievement alone is a significant step forward for autonomous vehicles, an arena beginning to heat up as more and more major players get involved.

There’s Uber and Google to start with. Then there is the dashboard operating systems that are beginning to populate existing cars. Add to that the stark growth in electric cars and you have an industry ripe with innovation and competition.

You kind of get the feeling the term ‘smart’ car was attributed a decade too soon…

Delphi’s car has a whole suite of technologies to maintain its automotive capabilities

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic