An Audi SQ5 fitted out with autonomous driving technology by automotive supplier Delphi is the first self-driving car to complete a US west coast to east coast trek from San Francisco to New York City.
Accompanied by a team of engineers from the Delphi — an automotive supplier spun off, in part, from GM in 1997 — have helped the modified Audi SQ5, dubbed Roadrunner, complete the nine day, roughly 5470km, cross-country trek.
The route from San Francisco to New York City went through the southern states, with the team making overnight stops in Los Angeles; Phoenix, Arizona; El Paso and Dallas, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta, Georgia; Durham, North Carolina; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On-board equipment includes long-range radar short-range radar sensors at each corner of the car, six LIDAR units and a forward facing camera in the windscreen. There’s also vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications gear. A central processor ties all these elements together and makes decisions for the car.
The Delphi-modified SQ5 is equipped with automated valet software and is able to drive in urban environments: stopping at traffic lights and stop signs, waiting for pedestrians to cross the street, dealing with highway on-ramps, and so forth.
However, according to CNET, for the cross-country journey, the Delphi SQ5 was limited to highway driving, with the human in the driver’s seat taking over in cities and towns, and for pit stops.