As a rule, self-driving car tests tend to be restricted to the country where they began. But that’s not how people drive — what happens when your autonomous vehicle crosses the border? Continental and Magna plan to find out. They’re planning to pilot two driverless vehicles all the way from southeastern Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario, making this the first cross-border test of its sort. The machines won’t be in full control for the entire route, but they’ll use a combination of cameras, lidar and radar to take over when they can, including two key border crossings (the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Blue Water Bridge).
This isn’t the first autonomous driving-related agreement involving Michigan and Ontario, but it’s a significant one: it’ll explore rules and regulations in addition to usual self-driving data collection.
As you might guess, tests like this will be crucial to making autonomy a pragmatic reality. Self-driving vehicles need to know how to adapt to changing road rules, such as different signage and units of measurement. While this isn’t the greatest challenge, it has to be overcome if you’re ever going to undertake on cross-border shopping trips without touching your steering wheel.