Even though it still sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, there’s no denying it: Autonomous vehicles are coming to a street near you, and most likely much sooner than you expect.
By definition, a self-driving car is a vehicle with technology that allows it to automatically steer, accelerate, brake and avoid obstructions with minimal or no human driver interaction. They have been on the road, being tested for some time now.
And one man claims to have just made a coast-to-coast journey in one. If true, it would be the longest trip of its kind on record.
Cali to New York all in a self-driving car
The man behind the wheel was engineer Anthony Levandowski. He used to work for Google and helped create Google Street View along with the self-driving technology that is being used by Waymo.
After leaving the company, he started working on new technology. He built something called Co-Pilot that doesn’t rely on Lidar, or sensing technology that measures distance by shooting laser.
Instead, it’s made up of six cameras, computers and some basic digital maps. Levandowski says he modified a Toyota Prius with his new tech and made the first-ever coast-to-coast trip in a self-driving car in October.
He made a time-lapse video, documenting the trip. Check it out below:
The journey lasted almost 4 days and Levandowski traveled 3,099 miles. He started on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and ended up on the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan.
The cool thing is, Levandowski told “The Guardian” that even though he was sitting in the driver’s’ seat the whole way, he didn’t touch the steering wheel or brakes once during the trip. Except of course when he needed to make the occasional pit stop to rest and refuel.
Unfortunately he’s not planning on using this new tech for passenger cars as of yet. Instead, he’s focusing on his new company that will implement the technology in commercial semi-trucks. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s ever available for you and me.