Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Driverless car parks by itself

If you are a person who would cheerfully hand over the task of parking your car to a computer, there might be a Volkswagen in your future.

Past weekend, Volkswagen Group of America as well as Stanford University's School of Engineering hosted a dedication ceremony on the Stanford campus for the new Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory (VAIL) that integrated the "first ever" self-directed parking demonstration by a driverless car.

The car, a VW Passat called Junior, was developed together by VW and Stanford and is the similar one that finished second in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. Driverless cars have come a long way since the first DARPA race in the year 2004, when not one competitor made it over the finish line, much less parallel-parked itself.

VW donated $5.75 million for the latest laboratory, which it called "the next step in the evolution of the two organizations' commitment to drive modernization in automotive development."

"When the new building opens early next year, Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory (VAIL) will offer a home on campus for faculty along with students from around the university to work up advanced automotive research," alleged Jim Plummer, dean of the Stanford School of Engineering.

The company furthermore unveiled the Pike's Peak Audi TT-S, the most recent iteration of driverless vehicles developed all the way through the VW-Stanford partnership.

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