Autonomous vehicle (AV) research firm VSI Labs is setting out on its longest practical test to date with a 2,000-mile cross-country road trip from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Santa Clara, California, on August 20, 2019. The team of three AV developers will drive for four days using one of their in-house self-driving vehicles, stopping at various landmarks along the way.
“We’re doing this to demonstrate the technologies of automated driving,” says VSI principal and founder, Phil Magney. “The Automated Drive West will be our largest experiment ever.”
VSI aims to validate the benefit of using precision lanes models and enhanced GPS technology to improve the performance and safety of highway autonomous driving applications. Furthermore, the team seeks to better understand how these technologies operate across varying terrains, weather and driving conditions.
“The Automated Drive West is not about proving anything, it’s about discovery,” said Sara Sargent, VSI’s engineering project manager and lead driver. “This trip will apply a few technologies that are particularly useful in rural settings where infrastructure is at a minimum.”
The VSI team will be supported by partners HERE, which provides VSI with HD Live Maps, and OxTS’s highly precise GPS device to enable map-based lane-keeping driving applications.
“We’re thrilled to be part of VSI Labs’ Autonomous Drive West and provide its autonomous vehicle with the HERE HD Live Map,” said Matthew Preyss, product marketing manager, HERE. “By utilizing our HDLM data, VSI is testing different autonomous functions like automatic cruise control, lane keeping, lane changing, and more.”