A Chinese car company has set a new world record by having 55 autonomous SUVs run in a straight line down a test track without crashing.
Alright, we’re selling this accomplishment a little short. What really happened was 55 SUVs fitted with autonomous driving software all managed to go down a slightly winding test track without crashing. However, one car was disqualified for having the driver get a little too nervous and grabbing the wheel, dropping the original 56 down to 55.
Nobody knows what happened to that driver.
The record was set by Changan Automobiles, a Chinese manufacturer located in Chongqing, China. The vehicles appear to be Changan CS55s, which bears a striking resemblance to the Land Rover Discovery. Other cars made by Changan appear just like a Toyota Yaris (the Changan Ben Ben) and a Hyundai Elantra (Changan Eado).
Even the logo looks like an upside-down Acura symbol.
That aside, this doesn’t detract from the engineering feat of getting 55 SUVs to line up and follow each other for 2 miles. Each SUV drove at a speed of 18.6 mph, which took 9 minutes, 7 seconds to complete the 2-mile circuit.
The sensor systems aboard each CS55 was modified specifically to handle the task of following in a parade. Tolerance of the system was dropped from 5% to 1% due to the controlled conditions of the test track. This allowed each car to better “see” the car in front of it as well as the lane lines, and allowed it to position itself to within about an inch.
“The drivers who participated in the test had no contact with the autopilot system at all, so we should also build up their confidence in our system in a short period of time to let go [of the controls],” autonomous car engineer Yang Guo told Guinness representatives. Guinness was on hand to record the event and verify the new world record for the longest parade of autonomous vehicles.
"The artificial intelligence and new energy of automobiles is a very important trend in the future development of automobiles. As the world's first brand to break this record, we will make more efforts in the field of intelligence,” added Tan Benhong, Changan's Executive VP.