Autonomous vehicles reach halfway point on 12,000km expedition

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After departing from Parma, Italy on July 26, an expedition of four autonomous and driverless vehicles has travelled more than 6,000km to reach Siberia. The vehicles were created by Italian imaging research firm VisLab, a spin-out of the University of Parma. The VisLab Autonomous Challenge (VIAC) expedition faces another 6,000km of autonomous driving through Kazakhstan and China before arrival in Shanghai, where the expedition is set to finish.

The expedition demonstrates the company's vehicle vision products, including lane-trackers, car counters, the 'GOLD' generic obstacle and lane detector, and data-logging modules for recording the output of multiple sensors.

During the expedition, VisLab’s autonomous vehicles were demonstrated to people of all countries, crossing cities including Belgrade, Budapest, Kiev, Rostov, Moscow, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Ekaterinburg and Omsk.

Despite minor bumps and scrapes, the vehicles are said to have fared well during the first half of their journey. In Moscow, the company reports, the vehicles picked up two Russian hitch-hikers, while elsewhere in Russia a police officer tried to issue the vehicles a ticket, but did not find a driver to address the fine to.

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