The auto supplier Delphi is out to prove its autonomous car technology is up to snuff with a 3,500-mile trek that will take its heavily modified Audi SQ5 from San Francisco to New York.
The Audi, a few engineers, and its "driver" are leaving SF on March 22, with plans for six- to eight-hour stints during the trip, eventually winding up in NYC for the auto show next month.
The SQ5 is one of four vehicles Delphi has modified for autonomous driving duty, with an array of sensors, LIDAR, radar, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and a multi-domain controller processing an estimated two terabytes of data that will collected during the trip.
But even with all that gear, the autonomous Audi will only drive itself on the highway – Delphi can do stop signs and pedestrian detection, but this is just as much about making headlines as it is about proving real-world functionality.
The entire trip will be closely monitored by a team of propellerheads remotely watching its progress from the Delphi mothership. And you can follow along at delphidrive.com.