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Delphi Automotive launching coast-to-coast automated drive

Delphi Automotive is launching a US coast-to-coast automated drive—the longest automated drive ever attempted in North America—to showcase its technology capabilities and to gather data and further advance the company’s active safety technology development in this rapidly growing segment of the auto industry. The coast-to-coast trip will launch near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on 22 March and will cover approximately 3,500 miles.

Recently demonstrated on the streets of Las Vegas at CES 2015, Delphi’s Audi SQ5 automated driving vehicle leverages a full suite of technologies and features to make this trip possible, including:

  • Radar and vision systems: The vehicle uses a combination of short- and long-range radars—Electronically Scanning Radars (ESR) and Short Range Radars (SRR) in a 360˚ configuration. The ESRs specialize in long-range sensing functions, such as adaptive cruise control and cross traffic detection.

  • Vision: The vehicle is equipped with cameras for vision-based perception: an ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) camera, a high-resolution color camera, and an infrared camera. The ADAS camera is used for pedestrian, lane and vehicle detection. The high-definition color camera is used for traffic light detection and the infrared camera provides redundancy for pedestrian and vehicle detection.

  • Lidar: As opposed to the externally high-mounted, spinning lidars used in many other autonomous platforms, Delphi vehicles use a fused system of lidars which are integrated around the periphery of the vehicle. This approach enables 360-degree coverage, while preserving the aesthetics of the vehicle. The lidars generate a high-resolution point cloud that is helpful for general object detection; particularly in densely packed urban environments. Each lidar is paired with an ESRs, which allows the effective fusion of radar and lidar data.

  • Multi-domain controller: High-end microprocessor to seamlessly drive multiple features and functions. As systems become more complex and computing technologies become more capable and with much higher processing power, it enables re-architecting the vehicle. This creates a need for multi-domain control where the architecture can be optimized for control, functional safety and complex sensor fusion systems for automation.

  • V2X: Delphi’s automated platforms make use of DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) for collaborative communication with infrastructure, such as traffic lights (V2I), other vehicles (V2V) and even pedestrians (V2P). V2X communications provide redundancy that is especially useful in urban environments with numerous traffic signals, vehicles and pedestrians.

  • Localization System: Delphi uses precision GPS information for safely traveling through the driving environment; even when the infrastructure is marginal (e.g. poor lane markings). In situations with poor GPS reception, such as tunnels and urban canyons, the vehicles make use of a highly accurate IMU (inertial measurement system) for dead reckoning. Additionally, the environmental sensors on the vehicle can pick out key features of the environment for map-matching.

  • Intelligent software that enables the vehicle to make complex, human-like decisions for real-world automated driving, including

    • Traffic Jam Assist
    • Automated Highway Pilot with Lane Change (on-ramp to off-ramp highway pilot)
    • Automated Urban Pilot
    • Automated Parking and Valet

  • Drive-by-wire system: The drive-by-wire system featured in Delphi’s automated driving platforms is implemented in a manner that preserves the function of the production vehicle’s steering and drivetrain. When manually operated, the vehicle drives exactly as a production Audi SQ5 would. When auto mode is engaged, the automated system uses the same vehicle input interfaces as a human driver, which allows passengers to directly see and feel how the vehicle is behaving. The automated driving system is completely separable from the stock system, which allows the driver to instantaneously retake full control of the vehicle at any time.

Delphi says that its active safety technologies enable the vehicle to instantaneously make complex decisions, such as stopping and then proceeding at a four-way stop, timing a highway merge or calculating the safest maneuver around a bicyclist on a city street. Many of these driving scenarios have been a limitation for much of the current technology on the market today.

Driver interaction. When automated driving is available, the driver is notified with visual and audio notification from the main display, at which point he or she may give control to the Delphi Automated Driving System by moving the toggle switch to the Auto position. When this is done, steering, braking, acceleration and shifting are all handled by the drive-by-wire system.

The driver receives audio and visual cues of the operating status of the vehicle from the HMI system: an audio cue is played, blue lighting activates on the vehicle dashboard, and the main screen displays “Auto.” Control can be taken back at any time by pressing the Auto/Manual switch back into the Manual position.

Navigation, perception and vehicle data are displayed on the main screen. The driver and passengers are able to see pedestrians, traffic lights, lanes, other vehicles, and general objects, which are all detected and identified in real time. The driver also has the ability to customize the driving experience to his or her preferences; the control knob allows easy navigation of the main screen, where preferences for following distance, acceleration/deceleration and lane changes may be adjusted. This same interface is used for selecting a destination for the vehicle.

Understanding the state of the driver is a vital aspect of automated driving. Delphi’s automated driving platforms are equipped with state-of-the-art driver state sensing systems, which allow the vehicle to monitor the availability of the driver in situations where a takeover may be necessary. If the driver is found to be unavailable, the vehicle is capable of coming to a stop until it is safe to proceed.


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This system by Delphi looks very much like the one that Volvo is developing. Especially the part that enables self-driving on the highway and that is capable of stopping the car should the driver not respond to calls to take over the control of the car. As you can obviously not stop the car on the highway I guess the car must be capable of driving itself to the nearest exit point on the highway and then stop itself at a suitable place after exiting the highway. Hope that these autopilot highway systems can be available by 2020 so that people can start spending their time more productively when driving on the highway.


Yes Henrik, by 2020 or so, many manufacturers will have mastered the art of automated highway driving.

Will it be offered at a decent price and authorized by many States and countries?

By 2025 or so we may get fully automated drive vehicles, including automatic shortest-best route selection to save time and energy, city and country side driving etc.

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Harvey elsewhere I read "Delphi estimates it will cost $5,000 to make a vehicle almost fully autonomous by 2019."

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Tesla currently charges 4250 USD for the Tech Package with Autopilot option which extends the capabilities of Tesla's autopilot system with convenience features like
•Traffic-aware cruise control
•Lane keeping with automatic steering
Tesla also need that highway autopilot feature and a self-parking feature with automatic charging connection. That should come before 2020 at no additional costs.


Does this mean some time in the future you could go out have a few drinks and the car will take you home? Or just as good tell the car Florida and go to sleep. With MPG starting to exceed 50mpg highway with a 20gal tank the car interior may have to include a bed option for long distance travel.


Carnegie Mellon drove an automated car from Pittsburgh to San Diego(?) sometime before the DARPA Grand Challenges. So it was at least 12 years ago. They probably needed to take over for fueling and stopping but I believe all of the actual highway driving was done fully automated. Also, they did not announce their intentions to do this before hand.

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