Self-driving car takes first coast-to-coast road trip

Delphi did it

A self-driving car fabricated by Delphi Automotive, dubbed "Roadrunner," just completed a nearly 3,400-mile journey across the United States, marking the first coast-to-coast autonomous drive to go down in North America.

The Roadrunner, an Audi SQ5 decked out with sensors and other Delphi self-driving systems, spent close to 99% of the nine-day trip in fully automated mode.

It navigated through tricky conditions like traffic circles, construction, bridges, inclement weather and aggressive drivers. A Delphi spokeswoman told us a human driver may need to take over in "extremely complex" circumstances like major construction zones for safety reasons, but added, "Our car ran into very few of these situations."

The road trip started in San Francisco and ended in New York City, crossing 15 states along the way. Delphi engineers gathered almost three terabytes of data from the car, information they plan to use in advancing automated driving technologies.

While companies like Google and Mercedes-Benz are getting in on the self-driving car craze, Delphi's drive is the first coast-to-coast journey undertaken by an autonomous vehicle.

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As the US News Editor, Michelle (Twitter, Google+) keeps her eye on all things tech with particular interest on phones, tablets and finding out who the people are behind the devices. Any phone that can survive a regular (accidental) drop has her vote for best handset. Michelle previously worked covering local news in the Bay Area and has been with TechRadar since July 2012.