This page contains the news and the blog of the VIAC project. You can check what happened during the test (officially and unofficially); by clicking on the single news, you will also be directed to a page with the comments of the various visitors for the engineers and for the team.

Thank you very much to all who participated in our blog.
Goodbye!

VIAC seminar

A seminar about VIAC project will be held on Thursday 2 December 2010 from 11:00 am to 12:30 am, at the “Centro Polifunzionale per la Didattica” of Parma University Campus in room Aula Grande.

In the first part a technical description of the project and the vehicles will be given.
Then videos and photos of the journey will be shown to tell the adventures (and misadventures :) ) along more than 13.000km of travel.

Pictures from Shanghai

We have uploaded a new gallery with the pictures directly from the Expo! Check it out!

VisLab@Expo2010

Here is the very first picture from the Expo 2010. Today we started to meet people and press at the European pavilion, and everybody was very excited about the project! More events will follow in the next few days, so stay tuned.

A long way to Shanghai…

… but there we are!!! Leader and follower on Shanghai’s Nanpu Bridge: thank GOLD (*) for that :-)

(*) Generic Obstacle and Lane Detector, name of VisLab’s software running on the vehicles.

Still running, still testing

Yesterday another 2 runs of 197 km all together: it seems that batteries and chargers are all working steadily well at the moment. Did a few tests of our software as well, changing the leader-follower configuration and letting the following vehicle drive on its own along the highway (have a look at the 23 October 2010 video in the “Latest video news” section of our website, if you wish!). We’ll continue with other tests today, going back to the leader-follower configuration but with the leading vehicle driving on its own this time.

Talk to you later, ciao!

The Silent Army

Under quite a cloudy sky we have travelled for 2 autonomous runs of 94 and 85 km today, after 3 days without any.

Yesterday a few km from Xi’an, at the Terracotta Warriors site parking lot, we replaced the 2 deteriorated battery chargers. It seems now that all the vehicles get properly recharged.
And we had the opportunity to visit the archaeological site as well: what an extraordinary cultural heritage! Despite the constant and very noisy flow of tourists around, the beauty of the statues with their incredible variety of armours, head coverings and face expressions brings such an astonishment to the observer that even if only for a few moments it is unavoidable to be ravished in admiration…

One more team member

After visiting the very suggestive Xianyang Great Buddha Temple we have arrived in Xi’an today and met at the hotel Chiara who brought with her 2 new battery chargers as replacement to fix the inconvenience of some days ago.

Yesterday we did one autonomous run and went through a challenging offroad mountain pass about 20 km from the temple, climbing which has been very difficult for all the convoy vehicles. There are huge road works around China at the moment so offroad tracks are becoming quite a daily routine for our trip!

Corner cases

Today we wanted to stress a bit the navigation system, to see how well it behaves when most of the sensors information is missing. For that purpose, we disabled everything but the lane detector: the result was even better than expected, with the vehicle driving smoothly between the lanes.
Later on we had some problems with one brake actuator, which got stuck: the fix was easy, but in the meanwhile the friction heated the wheels, resulting in a familiar (for us) burning smell.

On the way to Xi’an

After a night spent near the first (reconstructed in the 90′s) leg of the Great Chinese Wall, we drove just for 2 short autonomous runs of about 50 km today to catch up with the schedule. Here’re a couple of photos of the Wall, with a modern add too :-)

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In Xi’an we plan to meet Chiara, another member of the team that will join the expedition till the end.

Inconveniences…

Today we had to fix a massive battery charger failure: all of them got broken at the same time because of a spike produced by the power supply unit. This was really bad news, since no battery charger means no driving, period. Nevertheless, we managed to solve the problem by replacing two units with spare parts and getting the other two back to a functional state using some random stuff we had in the trucks. The journey goes on…