In November of 2018, China’s Changan Automobile manufacturing company set a Guinness World Record for the longest parade of autonomous cars. The car line featured 55 of the self-driving vehicles, traveling two miles at 30 km/h (or 18.6 mph) with a distance of two car lengths between them. The parade lasted nine minutes and seven seconds. The record was set on a test track in Chongqing.
Yang Guo, an engineer for the autonomous car lineup at Changan Automobile, explained that while each car had a “driver,” they were not permitted to have any contact with the cars’ autopilot systems. In fact, the parade was originally intended to feature 56 cars before one driver became disqualified by engaging with the car as it drove.
Engineers were able to make alterations to the vehicle sensors to allow them to have better detection for lanes and increased sensitivity to the positions of the cars in front of them. By reducing the vehicles’ event and object detection and the automatic response to these factors, the vehicles were able to be programmed to drive much closer together than they would under normal driving conditions.
The test track allowed the dynamic driving tasks to be lowered from five percent to one percent because a controlled driving area, such as the test track, has far fewer variables than are found under normal driving conditions.
Changan Automobiles is hoping that by setting the record, they are showing the world China’s commitment to inventing new technologies. Changan’s Executive Vice President, Tan Benhong, explains,
“The artificial intelligence and new energy of automobiles is a very important trend in the future development of automobiles. As the world’s first brand to break this record, we will make more efforts in the field of intelligence.”