Engineer of Self-Driving Cars Drove Across the Country Without Touching Steering Wheel


Anthony Levandowski, an ex-Waymo engineer, could have taken a nap as he made his coast-to-coast trip in a self-driving test car. He is claiming to not have touched the steering wheel of his car the entire time it was on the highway between New York and San Francisco, which is a 3,009-mile distance.

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This was a milestone trip to help promote Levandowski’s technology, called Pronto.AI, which was started after he left Google-owned Waymo. Levandowski’s past is filled with controversy, though. The former engineer had been accused of stealing trade secrets, which is why he then left to start a self-driving truck company called Otto. Uber bought Otto out, and Waymo also claimed that Otto had all of the stolen secrets with it.

After the lawsuit, Levandowski created Pronto.AI. To show its potential, he set out on the little-over-3,000-mile trip. The technology was installed on his Toyota Prius, and it handled itself well during the entire trip. Levandowski claims to only have taken control when he stopped for gasoline.

Pronto.AI isn’t likely to start testing self-driving vehicles. Instead, Levandowski plans to use that technology to create new and better safety systems. His primary target is trucking. His system is unique from other self-driving technology because it uses six cameras to get all the information from the road. However, it doesn’t use lidar, which is what other self-driving technology products use.

With Pronto.AI technology, the trunk stores a computer that runs two different neural networks that process the data. One network focuses on signs, lane markings, and obstacles while the second uses that information to control the vehicle, operating the brakes, steering, and throttle.

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Engineer of Self-Driving Cars Drove Across the Country Without Touching Steering Wheel

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