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Driverless Electric Vans Make 8,000 Mile Journey

Earlier in July, a group of researchers embarked on an epic journey across Eurasia, driving an 8,000 miles from Italy to China. More notably, the group rode through the Gobi dessert in funky looking electric vans that were essentially 'driverless'.

Last week the team finally finished their journey, a long three months after they departed, arriving at the Shanghai World Expo. Although drivers from the team had to step in on a small number of occasions to deal with minor traffic or toll issues, the majority of the trip was made without a driver.

The vans used a system developed by the researchers on board known as GOLD, Generic Obstacle and Lane Detector. In addition, the vans used solar powered laser sensors to detect the proximity of surrounding objects and traffic.

Although the vans drove at a somewhat sluggish 38 miles per hour, the primary reason why the trip took so long is because the vans had to be charged for 8 hours on every charge, with each charge only lasting about two hours.

The technology may be a little rough, but with some polishing and time, we might actually see cars driving themselves like in the movie irobot.

Check out AssociatedPress' video of the cars here:

*Img from AutoblogGreen