Driverless Vans Traveling from Italy to China

We've previously mentioned that engineers in various firms have been developing cars that can drive themselves. A group of Italian engineers is putting their automated car to a rather rigorous test: driving from Italy to Shanghai without direct human guidance.

Two bright orange vehicles, equipped with laser scanners and cameras that work in concert to detect and help avoid obstacles, are to brave the traffic of Moscow, the summer heat of Siberia and the bitter cold of the Gobi desert before the planned arrival in Shanghai at the end of October.

"What we are trying to do is stress our systems and see if they can work in a real environment, with real weather, real traffic and crazy people who cross the road in front of you and a vehicle that cuts you off," said project leader Alberto Broggi.

The road trip consists of two pairs of vehicles, each with a driven lead van followed by a driverless vehicle occupied by two technicians, whose job is to fix glitches and take over the wheel in case of an emergency. via Popular Science | Photo of unrelated Siberian road by Flickr user vladislav.bezrukov used under Creative Commons license

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LOL at Alex's comment :D

I think this is great stuff, especially testing it under such practical severe conditions.

My university is also working on similar projects, but I don't think they have ever tested it out so rigorously.
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