Four Vans Successfully Navigated From Italy to China Without Drivers or Maps

Without satellite navigation to guide them, or even humans behind the wheel, four vans made the 8,000 mile journey from Italy to China. Seven video cameras combined with solar powered laser scanners made the trek, which ended today, possible.

The vans did house researchers, just in case an emergency—like crazy traffic, which happened in Moscow, or toll booths—occurred. One of the vans decided to stop and give a hitch hiker a lift at one point.

The trip was performed as part of a road safety experiment aimed at improving automotive technology. It uses an automated vision system called GOLD, Generic Obstacle and Lane Detector, to adjust the speed and direction of the vehicles. The researchers hope this system could be used in cars to enhance and complement drivers' abilities. [Yahoo! News]