Delphi Autonomous Car Completes 3,400-Mile Cross-Country Journey

Apr 03, 2015 03:55 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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Delphi Automotive has successfully completed the longest autonomous drive in the U.S. after traveling from San Francisco to New York, with a little help of course.

The specially outfitted Audi SQ5 started its journey in San Francisco on March 22 and ended it on April 1 in New York City, where the 2015 N.Y. International Auto Show is being held.

The car wasn't alone though. At least two Delphi engineers were in the crossover the entire trip, including one behind the wheel, according to a Delphi release.

Overall 3,400 miles were covered with 99 percent of the coast-to-coast ride in fully automated mode.

The drive gave Delphi engineers the opportunity to conduct important research and gather data that will help them advance "active safety technology," according to the release.

During the nine-day trip, the Audi SQ5 experienced some difficulties in certain situations, like traffic circles, bridges, tunnels, a number of weather conditions and aggressive drivers, according to the release.

Those issues weren't necessarily a bad thing though, since engineers will be able to learn from them to make improvements in the future.

"Our vehicle performed remarkably well during this drive, exceeding our expectations," said Jeff Owens, Delphi chief technology officer, according to the Delphi release. "The knowledge obtained from this trip will help optimize our existing active safety products and accelerate our future product development, which will allow us to deliver unsurpassed automotive grade technologies to our customers."

Despite their successful trip, Delphi Automotive Chief Technology Officer Jeff Owens seems to think it could take a while to get people out of the driver's seat completely.

"To get the driver out of the driver seat, you're 10 years or 15 years away, at least," said Owens, according to CNBC. "You need an ecosystem for a fully autonomous car to work in."

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