Imagine a long drive that starts from Parma, Italy and ends in China. Now imagine this drive happening without drivers.
This is exactly the project that is planned to take place. This proposed trip wouldn’t be about sending a Knight Rider type car to make the trip all by its lonesome, but with four vans. One van will be in front, with the two robot vans in the middle, followed by a normally driven van in case of maintenance issues.
The plan is to see how these vehicles will react to stimuli. I am assuming that he is referring to traffic signals, pedestrians, and other highway hazards. Yes, that is very dangerous, and these robot vans are not going to be completely driverless. There will be people behind the wheel that will take over at the push of a button if it looks like there will be trouble.
As project leader Alberto Broggi says:
What we are trying to do is stress our systems and see if they can work in a real environment, with real weather, real traffic and crazy people who cross the road in front of you and a vehicle that cuts you off.
I look forward to hearing about this particular trip. I also can’t wait to hear about the first time we will send a lone driverless vehicle on the road. I wonder if that is the next step, should this trip prove successful