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Self-Driving Car Completes Cross-Country Trip

NEW YORK (CBS SF) -- From San Francisco to New York, a driverless car developed in the Bay Area
completed a successful cross country trip.

Delphi Automotive's Audi SUV pulled into Manhattan on Tuesday, just in time for the New York International Auto Show this week--and for the most of the journey, the vehicle drove itself.

"We're going to learn a lot out of this," said Jeff Owens, Delphi's chief technology officer said before leaving on the trip.

The automated SUV, equipped with GPS, radar sensors and cameras to steer and break through traffic, was developed by the Michigan-based auto supplier that has a facility in Silicon Valley. The trip began near the Golden Gate Bridge and engineers were along for the ride with one behind the wheel--but not driving.

The vehicle did not drive at night on its own.

Delphi says the vehicle is capable of making complex decisions, like stopping and then proceeding at a four-way stop, timing a merge onto the highway or maneuvering around a bicyclist or a trash can. When it wants the driver to resume control, it uses a verbal warning and flashes lights on the dashboard.

"This technology can make a serious impact on those statistics," Owens said. "The car is not distracted, even if the driver is."

Doug Welk, an engineer in the company's automated driving program, said the cross-country drive would help Delphi figure out the best combination of sensors, ultimately helping to lower costs. Delphi estimates it will cost around $5,000 to make a vehicle almost fully autonomous by 2019.

Owens will be speaking Thursday in New York about the automated trip.

Earlier this year, an Audi using technology from the automaker completed a fully automated drive from Stanford University to Las Vegas, a trip of 550 miles.

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