VIDEO: Virginia Tech’s Self-Driving Demo

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers recently demonstrated self-driving and connected-vehicle technology to a small group of government officials while traveling a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 395 in Northern Virginia.

The closed testing occurred during the regular midday reversal of the Interstate 395 express lanes. U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson were among the passengers experiencing the technology first-hand.

The connected sedans are equipped with both dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) and cellular technology. The vehicles can provide advanced alerts to the driver using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. (To view video of one of the test cars in action, click on the photo or link below the headline.)

“The growing use of automated and connected technologies is no longer a matter of if, but when,” Warner said. “It is exciting that Virginia is positioned to be a leader in the development of this game-changing technology and the new jobs and investment that will result.”

Test vehicle passengers witnessed lane changing and braking responses to several staged scenarios, including work zones, sudden traffic slowdowns and passing emergency vehicles.

The demonstration was part of the Virginia Connected Corridors and the Virginia Automated Corridors initiatives. Participants include the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Transurban, and HERE (a high-definition mapping business).

Continental, a global automotive supplier and a leading technology corporation, demonstrated several of its advanced safety systems on the interstate.

“Next-generation vehicular technology certainly has the potential to play a vast role within the transportation community – from increasing overall safety to reducing congestion and negative environmental impacts,” said Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Director Tom Dingus.