An Audi will drive 3,500 miles across the United States as part of an investigation into how driverless cars handle real road environments.
The autonomous Audi SQ5 will travel from San Francisco to New York over eight days, with computer systems managing the majority of the cross-country journey.
The modified vehicle is built by automotive firm Delphi, in hopes that that the car will collect around 2.3TB of data during its travels.
Delphi’s Audi will only drive for a maximum of eight hours per day, and will not travel above the speed limit.
It’s scheduled to arrive in New York on March 30, which coincides with the annual motor show that takes place there.
The majority of the Audi’s journey will be entirely autonomous; driver input won’t be required when travelling along freeways.
Human passengers, however, who will be sat in the car for the duration of the journey, will handle more complicated sections of the drive.
Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer, said: “Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas.”
“Now it’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions. This drive will help us collect invaluable data in our quest to deliver the best automotive grade technologies on the market.”
The car makes use of an array of sensors to help detect the surrounding environment, as well as GPS to provide navigation.
Delphi’s driverless car software can purportedly make ‘human-like decisions for real-world automated driving’, which will hopefully be put to the test during the upcoming journey.
Driverless cars currently fall in a legal grey area in the United States. Some states have legalised the vehicles on public roads, while others have no specific legislation on the matter.
To be safe, Delphi has informed all of the states involved in the journey ahead of time, reportedly ‘taking every precaution’ to avoid any legal difficulties.