Key test for self-driving cars: A northern Virginia highway

AP News
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Posted: Oct 19, 2015 2:54 PM

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Self-driving cars have faced one of their most rigorous tests yet: an interstate in busy northern Virginia.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute demonstrated its automated vehicle technology Monday on the I-95 Express Lanes.

Officials say it is the first time that driverless technology this advanced has been tested on an actual highway.

Still, the demonstration was highly controlled: It occurred at midday, when the express lanes were otherwise empty, as they were in the midst of the reversal process from northbound to southbound.

And the technology does not yet allow a driver to completely check out. A driver must remain behind the wheel, but the specially modified Cadillac SRX conducted lane changes on its own and adjusted speeds to account for simulated traffic and construction zones.