A recent study (that I just made up) suggests that over 139% of road rage in the UK is caused by white van men. But unfortunatly they and the vans they drive are a necessity to English society. The build our houses, fix our experiences, and sometimes even resurface our roads, if that itself isn’t another excuse to give us more road rage in itself.
So imagine if we could keep the white van men on the road and fixing our country, but without having them behind the wheel. I can only assume that this was the inspiring thought behind the latest test by a group of scientists to drive 4 experimental vans across the world, using only automatic driver free technology. This time, it looks like they have cracked it!
Last week 4 driver-less electric vans arrived in China, after setting off in Italy 3 months earlier and travelling 8,000 miles with only technology behind the wheel and pedals. The vans were equipped with solar powered laser scanners and video cameras that work together to detect and avoid obstacles. The epic 8,000 mile journey was part of an experiment aimed at improving road safety and advancing automotive technology.
Sensors pm the vans helped then navigate threw extreme terrain, traffic and weather conditions. They even stopped to pick up a hitch hiker, although this would be an unlikely feature in a production model. The vans used no maps even when travelling through remote regions of Siberia and China.
“This steering wheel is controlled by the PC. So the PC sends a command and the steering wheel moves and turns and we can follow the road, follow the curves and avoid obstacles with this. The idea here was to travel on a long route, on two different continents, in different states, different weather, different traffic conditions, different infrastructure. Then we can have some huge number of situations to test the system on.” Alberto Broggi of Vislab at the University of Parma in Italy.
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FYI I talk a lot of talk and the things I say often do not represent the views of anyone, including myself. I work for a digital media agency and sometimes will talk about things relating to clients, but my views remain unbiased and nonsensical. xoxo