Italy Sends Unmanned Solar-powered Vehicles to China
August 9, 2010 8:06 AM
comment(s) - last by
Italy is sending two unmanned vans powered by the sun on a trek across continents to China.
For the first time Italy is sending
on a long road drive from Parma, Italy to Shanghai, China. The vans themselves are modified Piaggio Porter Electric vans and modified extensively for the mission that they now face. Each van is equipped with a large solar panel mounted on the roof, this provides all of the power needed by the vehicle. The vehicles are also equipped with computers in the rear that provide stopping and avoidance countermeasures should anyone cross paths with the vans during their 3 month long trek. Cameras and other sensors mounted around the van feed the computers with data concerning road conditions and obstacles they may encounter.
While the vans are designed to be fully automated human technicians will be making decisions on which routes to take along the way. GPS data and maps for some of the areas being driven are unavailable, otherwise the engineers would not need to update route decisions as the journey unfolds. For the areas where GPS and mapping data are available, the vans will make their own decisions and travel without human intervention. The lead van will be controlled by humans that will be plotting routes and stops as necessary while the follow van itself is automated, it will taking commands and navigation from the lead van at all times. In the event something happens there will be drivers in the follow van to intervene as necessary.
The vans and the technology driving them are less than perfect however. The vans have a top speed of a mere 37mph, which is hardly ideal for commuting to and from work each day on super highways. The vans themselves are still powered by their stock power system, with the solar panels providing all of the power necessary to operate the computers, sensors and drive actuators. Whenever plugin locations can not be utilized to recharge the batteries contained in the cars, oil based generators will be utilized to rechrage the vehicles. The long distance trek is designed to provide valuable data on why automated vehicles might fail and what circumstances have not been predicted and accounted for in the software controlling the vans. In the event something goes terribly wrong a following truck houses additional vans to continue the journey.
For twitter watchers the vehicles have been equipped with GSM smart phones that will update CO2 levels and other data from the vans as they travel. For internet viewers in general live camera feeds from some of the cameras on the vans will be broadcast and streamed for all to see.
It will be interesting to see how well these vehicles perform
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Two unmanned Vans?
8/12/2010 8:08:03 PM
Think of the first one as being on autopilot with the drivers making only the occasional correction.
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Latest By Christopher Jennings
Kerbal Space Program, go where few have gone before.
October 16, 2013, 5:16 AM
Italy Sends Unmanned Solar-powered Vehicles to China
August 9, 2010, 8:06 AM
Office 2010 Technical Preview - The Suite
October 10, 2009, 6:01 PM
Windows 7 RTM Out of the Box
August 10, 2009, 8:00 AM
Windows 7 Features -- XP Mode
May 11, 2009, 7:26 AM
Windows 7 Release Candidate - Out of the Box
May 6, 2009, 8:35 AM
Windows XP within Windows 7
April 28, 2009, 8:48 AM
Windows Migration -- The Corporate Dilema
April 28, 2009, 7:54 AM
Windows 7, Out of the Box
January 13, 2009, 3:00 PM
Windows 7, a Look at the Initial Install and Setup
January 12, 2009, 7:07 AM
Hot Air? President Obama, G7 Pledge to Eliminate Most Fossil Fuel Use by 2100
June 8, 2015, 5:40 PM
Study Predicts Self-Driving Vehicles Could Rake in Billions
March 6, 2015, 8:34 AM
Dual-Motor Tesla Model S P85D's "Insane Mode" Shocks Passengers
January 28, 2015, 11:18 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
BMW Testing Tech to Allow Users to Auto-Park, Summon Cars Via Smartwatch
December 16, 2014, 9:30 AM
Lamborghini Offers Up $6,000 Leather-Bound Android Smartphone
December 12, 2014, 3:12 PM
Most Popular Articles
Windows XP, Vista Users Can Get Free Windows 10 Upgrade Thanks to Loophole
June 23, 2015, 2:23 PM
SanDisk's 200GB microSDXC Card Turns Smartphones Into Enviable PMPs
June 26, 2015, 2:02 PM
U.S. Navy Spends $9M USD to Cling to Windows XP, Office 2003
June 24, 2015, 2:03 PM
Under the Hood: Digging Into Sony's New CUH-1200 PS4, 1 TB Ultimate Player Ed.
June 23, 2015, 10:33 AM
Xbox Outsold 108-to-1 By PS4 in Japan, Weekly Sales Fall to 100 Units
June 22, 2015, 1:54 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information