Citroen’s new Grand C4 Picasso has marked a milestone well beyond the ambitions of the average people-mover this week, in being the first car to complete an epic cross-country roadtrip without any input from its ‘driver’.
Demonstrating PSA Peugeot Citroen’s developing autonomous vehicle technology, the driverless Grand C4 Picasso travelled 580 kilometres from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux on its way to this week’s Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Conference.
"The journey made by our prototype today proves that autonomous vehicles are no longer of matter of science fiction,” PSA Peugeot Citroen chairman Carlos Tavares said this week.
“This ushers in a new era for mobility, which I find truly exciting."
As with other driverless prototypes, PSA’s driverless technology uses a series of radars, cameras and GPS technology to monitor the surrounding area and traffic, allowing the vehicle to adjust speed and change lanes without assistance.
For now, PSA says its autonomous work is focused on supporting motorists and improving safety, working together with an attentive human driver.
But, with a view to meeting the changing behaviours and expectations of motorists, all driverless systems are likely to evolve to a point of total control - where available.
In announcing the landmark trek, PSA also highlighted the fact that it is the first French carmaker - on a list of two, alongside Renault - to test a driverless vehicle on open public roads.
Australia's first swing at driverless testing will come in November, when the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative kicks off in Adelaide. Read more about that here.