Watch out! The Artificial Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (VisLab) of Italy's Parma University has designed solar powered vehicles that can travel without a driver. They are planning to set a new worldwide milestone in the field of Vehicular Robotics from Parma, Italy to Shanghai, China, with the vehicles.
The VisLab Intercontinental Challenge Autonomous Challenge: to have their 4 solar powered electric vehicles arrive at the Shanghai World Expo in October 2010. VisLab also plans to use the vehicles for demonstrations, such as: delivering products to from Italy to China.
Each vehicle is covered with seven cameras and four laser scanners. Instead of drivers, the vehicles are, "controlled by an on-board computer called GOLD: Generic Obstacle and Lane Detector," (Treehugger). The vehicles will travel through all types of weather and all sorts of terrain, including populated cities.
Don't worry! Though there are no drivers to control the vehicles, the vehicles will contain passengers who, in case of an emergency, can take over the vehicle as well as monitor the performance of the vehicles. In addition, 4 RVs, and 3 support trucks will follow the vehicles.
For more information, "You can discover the challenge, read about the difficulties, and follow the expedition live on www.IntercontinentalChallenge.eu; a blog is also available to interact with the engineers testing and following the vehicles. Live video streaming from the vehicles is available during the whole expedition, so that the world will be able to eye-witness this historical milestone," (VisLab). You can also track the vehicles live starting July 29th.