Kate Hinds is an Associate Producer for WNYC News. She also reports for WNYC and Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.
VIDEO: Pennsylvania Congressman Takes a Ride in a Driverless Car
Thursday, September 05, 2013 - 10:11 AM
The chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee rode shotgun on a 33-mile driverless car jaunt.
Bill Shuster (R-PA) made the demonstration trip from Cranberry, Pennsylvania, to the Pittsburgh airport. Vehicle developers said those driving conditions prove the technology works in different types of traffic.
"This car is the holy grail of autonomous driving because it can do it all — from changing lanes on highways, driving in congested suburban traffic and navigating traffic lights," said Raj Rajkumar, the director of Carnegie Mellon University's CMU-General Motors Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab.
CMU researchers modified a 2011 Cadillac SRX to accommodate radar, lidar and computers. Shuster said the gear was unobtrusive.
"Driverless vehicles have come a long way since 2007," Shuster said in a statement on the committee's website, "when I saw Carnegie Mellon’s earlier prize-winning version of this type of car. That model was so packed with equipment it couldn’t hold passengers, but today, four of us rode comfortably in a car that safely drove us in various traffic conditions."
Watch a (sped up) video of the ride below.