Delphi Driverless Car
Delphi Driverless Car Makes Historical Cross-Country Trip
April 20, 2015 3:25 PM ET
by: Nick Gambino
I remember going to the movies when I was a kid back in 1994 to see Timecop with Jean-Claude Van Damme. There's a scene in the movie when he gets into his car and simply says, “Home.” And the car drives him all the way home on “auto-pilot.” I thought to myself, “Wow! I can't wait for the day we have cars that can actually do that.”
Well apparently the fine people over at Delphi Automotive had the same thought because here we are today with Delphi's self-driving Audi SQ5 just having completed a cross-country drive from San Francisco to New York, covering 15 states and a record 3400 miles.
The historic significance of this feat is not lost on us. Sure, numerous other companies like Google have been developing driverless cars and have even logged bookoo miles on the roads. But what sets this trip apart is the fact that it's the first cross-country drive by a self-driving car. It's never been done before. All earlier drives have been contained in single cities or on test roadways.
I believe when we look back on this 20, 30, 50 or even 100 years from now we're going to view it as a significant event tantamount to the first flight across the Atlantic.
Let's consider for a moment that driverless cars may be the way of the future. Maybe we'll all be driving them at some point or in this case having them drive us. Then it stands to reason that significant early milestones will be looked upon as historical.
Now while in 1903 the first cross-country drive in an automobile by Horatio Nelson Jackson and Sewall K. Crocker took 63 days, the Delphi traversed the country in only 9. An obvious win for the advancement of technology. And lucky for us they documented each day in a YouTube video.
While this is obviously a huge accomplishment in the auto-drive world there is still a long roadway ahead of them to make it work for mass consumption, namely for two reasons. First, whenever the car was driving through major cities, a human driver had to take control as it's just not quite up to task to deal with the chaos that is city driving. Secondly, the combined parts to build this car was north of $500,000. So turning a profit is pretty much out of the question at this time.
So there you are, another historical milestone in the books thanks to Delphi and another one of my childhood fantasies coming to fruition. Now, if someone can please institute the three seashells system from Demolition Man into all public bathrooms I'd be one happy kid.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter
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