For the first time in history, a vehicle completely dependent on the sun for power will travel for over 13,000 km without a human in the driver’s seat.
To showcase the benefit of green transportation, unmanned vans will drive through nine different countries as part of The VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge (VIAC), an epic 13,000km journey from Parma, Italy to Shanghai, China.
Not only are the vehicles are controlled by robots, but they run on electrical power and the whole electronic pilot is powered by solar energy, making this trip unique in history: goods packed in Italy will be brought to Shanghai on an intercontinental route with no human intervention and without using traditional fuel for the first time in history (VIAC).
Learning As You Go
During the course of the 3-month drive, each VIAC vehicle will be equipped with specially-designed Smartphones that monitor CO2 levels, providing a live stream of environmental data to the web via Twitter, @greenhaviour, throughout the journey.
“Visualising the data will enable us to identify quickly how pollution levels vary across continents. We will use IBM analytical tools to discover trends such as a correlation between certain illnesses and the quality of the air,” said Ed Jellard, consultant from IBM Hursley Development Lab.
If successful, the challenge will have accomplished two important goals: 1) it helps support the argument that electric vehicles can have all the power and stamina of the current gas or diesel powered options, and, 2) autonomous pilot can be installed without altering engine performance and without any requirement on additional power, being self-sustained.
With no need for human drivers, who can fall asleep at the wheel, or drive while under the influence, one might wonder if robotic transportation systems are safer as well as more efficient.
Image Credit: viac.vislab.it
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