A team of researchers led by Raul Rojas, a professor at University of Nevada, Reno, had completed a 1500 miles journey from Nogales to Mexico City in a special high-tech 2010 Volkswagen Passat station wagon named Autonomos. The self driving car was sent from Berlin, where it has approved to be tested on public roads since 2011.
The team of researchers consisted of two researchers from Freie Universitat Berlin, Raul Rojas and an employee of an autonomous vehicle research company. Rojas has been working on with intelligent systems since 1986 and autonomous cars since 2006.
Autonomos was equipped with seven laser scanners, nine video cameras and seven radars as well as a very accurate GPS unit. The self driving systems used all the inputs from all these systems and used them to navigate smoothly throughout the journey. The route was preconfigured beforehand; however, the car manoeuvred, braked and changed lanes on the fly. The only problem encountered was when there was no lane marking present on the road. However, despite all that, the team arrived safely in the destination approximately one week after the departure date. The car travelled between 250 and 300 miles per day.
Although the testing was successful, however, according to Rojas, they are not ready to roll out these systems to the public just yet. He said that autonomous cars required special maps in order to operate safely, mapped in which the number of lanes, the structure of the highway markings and also the position of exits, intersections and possibly of traffic lights were marked. He added that such maps were not commercially available for all countries, and therefore every autonomous car project still had to produce its own maps.