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Driverless Vans End 8,000-Mile Test Drive to China

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The European Research Council's 8,000-mile robotic car test, which began in Italy on July 20, came to a conclusion as four unmanned electric vans successfully completed their journey in Shanghai, China. The vehicles, equipped with four solar-powered laser scanners and seven video cameras that work together to detect and dodge obstacles, are part of an experiment aimed at improving road safety and advancing automotive technology. The vans did not use maps as they traveled through remote parts of Siberia and China.

The computerized artificial vision system, called Generic Obstacle and Lane Detector, analyzed the information from the sensors and automatically adjusted the vehicles' speed and direction.

"The idea here was to travel on a long route, on two different continents, in different states, different weather, different traffic conditions, different infrastructure," says University of Parma researcher Alberto Broggi. The technology will be employed to analyze ways to complement motorists' abilities, with potential applications in mining, farming, and construction.

From The Associated Press
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