TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.—U.S. autonomous vehicle testing has gone international.
On July 31, a Cadillac ATS and a Chrysler 300 rolled into the parking lot of the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa for the CAR Management Briefing Seminars after a 300-mile trip across U.S. and Canadian roads, including a ride through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and over the Blue Water Bridge. Much of the trip was undertaken without a driver touching the steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal.
The vehicles were outfitted with Level 3 autonomous vehicle technology from Magna International and Continental.
Once the vehicles arrived at their destination, representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation signed a memorandum of understanding to "promote and foster growth of connected and autonomous technology testing and deployment" between the U.S. and Canada.
The cross-border autonomous vehicle drive is believed to be the first of its kind.
"This is really a significant day and it cements the fact that this is where innovation happens," Kirk Steudle, director of MDOT, said.
Navdeep Bains, Canada's minister of innovation, science and economic development, said: "Today's demonstration is an important example of how our ongoing cross-border cooperation is advancing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. Our government is committed to creating new good middle-class jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. By continuing to work with the United States, we will equip our citizens with the skills they need to design and build the cars of the future on both sides of the border."
The autonomous demonstration faced challenges along the drive, including navigating through an international underwater tunnel with limited GPS service. The Blue Water Bridge near Port Huron, Mich., also was an adventure.
"It's a big chunk of steel," Steudle said. "All of those lidar and radar sensors get interference from all that steel. It's very challenging from a technology perspective."