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.

Almost Almaty

We’re travelling autonomously towards Almaty, where we’re finally going to have some rest at an hotel… this is good news, since on two motorhomes the heating gas tanks are almost empty, and it’s quite cold at night in this area!

Back in autonomous mode

After 5 days travelling around Russia and Kazakhstan for about 1500km today we made our first kazak run in autonomous mode. Everything went well: the country is so huge that main roads here are just straight lines hundreds of km long. Now we are stopped at about 300km from Almaty. Bye for now :)

Kazak travellin’

We are stopped on the road to Almaty to refill the motorhomes and the trucks and change some local currency. The satellite connection has now been restored, hopefully it will resist a bit :)

Towards Almaty

Now we are close to Pavlodar. Unfortunately, due to the heavy delay causes by customs problems of the last days, no autonomous driving until we reach Almaty. Our friend with the expired visa, together with the interpreter, is now in Novorsibisk to solve the visa problem, they will rejoin the expedition in Almaty.
The steppe is all round us, we can see lots of cows and horses grazing. The temperature is around 25 deg with a windy weather.

Customs by night

We travelled all day until we finally reached the Kazakhstan border early in the morning (4:30 am local time), when we discovered that the russian visa of one of the guys had just expired at midnight! Guess what? We ended up being trapped in the custom as usual, and we are still waiting to resume our trip. As a consequence, the demonstration scheduled for Almaty will likely be delayed, stay tuned for more info

Standing still

Still stopped at the customs for problems with the electric generator documents. In the meantime we have some rest in a Barnaul pub.
Hope we can start next run soon.

Stop in Barnaul

Today we are stopped in Barnaul to gather some customs documents, we should have the time to check the calibration of the systems.
The airport officials gave us some gadgets and flags as a welcome gift. They have been very kind.
Due to this stop no satellite connection for today.

Towards Barnaul

Yesterday in the morning we visited the city, after an amusing night we spent drinking beer and singing traditional italian songs with some russian guys we met at the pub :-)

In the afternoon we showed the vehicles to the mayor of Novokuzniek and then we had the press conference. At the end we answered  the questions of journalists and other interested people that took a lot of picures of us and the vehicles. We also had an interview with Novokuzniek local television.

Now the program is to reach autonomously Barnaul aiport (300 km), where we are expected to arrive on Monday; here two Vislab guys will leave the expedition, while Isabella and Stefano are joining it.
This morning we covered 156 autonomous km and during the second run we had to stop because…some cows crossed the road we were travelling!

In Novokuzneck

First run of 74 km today but unfortunately the car transporter has a problem that the truck drivers haven’t been able to figure out yet. Anyway for the moment the transporter keeps going.

Arrived in Novokuzneck late afternoon, we parked the vehicles near the ancient Fortress of Kuzneck and went to the hotel.
Last autonomous run of 72 km and sleep under a roof tonight!

Mountains of Gold

First autonomous run of 70 km today, we’ve driven with plenty of uphills and downhills on the beautiful Altay Mountains, the “Mountains of Gold”.

Had then a very good second run with 80 km done and still enough batteries left to drive for another few kilometers but as we were starving at that point we decided it was time to have some lunch.

Leaving for today’s last run we discovered that a vehicle, even after 6 hours charging, had the batteries level indicator blocked on the same value. Might be that during the last repair (replacement of the electric power point) we didn’t make all the wire connections as we should have. We’ll check them again as soon as possible.

Last run of 65 km completed, we’re now looking for a place to stop and spend the night.