Autonomous vehicles are quickly becoming one of the hottest topics in the automotive industry. While they are still not ready to hit the market, people like Raul Rojas are helping them get closer. The University of Nevada, Reno professor and his team decked out a 2010 Volkswagen Passat to complete a record-setting journey. The autonomous Passat successfully drove 1,500 miles from Nogales to Mexico City, unassisted. The 1,500 miles set a record for the longest-ever driverless trip.
To make this trip possible, the Volkswagen was packed with sensors, laser scanners, cameras, radar, and GPS. Prior to the trip, the team had to create a detailed digital map of their route through Mexico. The trip wasn’t completed overnight though; the car traveled between 250 to 300 miles each day. Rojas remarked that the drive was pretty uneventful — in a good way — as the vehicle encountered only one concerning issue the entire time; an unlined portion of recently paved highway.
The car didn’t complete the journey alone either. There was always at least one person in the passenger’s seat, and a few more people following behind for support. Rojas believes that it shouldn’t be too much longer before autonomous cars are ready to go; even in as little as two to three years! Check out some highlights of their trip in the video above..