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Firms Press Ahead With Driverless-Car Technology

FILE - A Google self-driving car goes on a test drive near the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif, May 14, 2014.

Two major technology companies say they intend to take radical steps toward preparing self-driving cars for introduction to everyday life.

British-based Delphi Automotive will send its converted Audi SQ5 on an eight-day, 5,600-kilometer drive from San Francisco to New York City, starting March 22, with the aim of testing its automatic drive systems.

The car is equipped with four short-range radars, three cameras and six distance-measuring lasers, along with a range of other systems.

Its human passengers will sit back and observe the car’s performance on open roads, but will take control when it gets off the highways.

In the meantime, the U.S. computer chip maker Nvidia unveiled an experimental computer designed to allow autonomous cars to learn from experience instead of reacting according to a predefined set of rules.

With Nvidia's programming, the cars will to gain expertise the same way humans do — by learning from thousands of different situations they encounter in everyday driving.

Over time, for instance, the car’s computer should be able to distinguish between the need to brake for a small animal that suddenly runs out in front of the vehicle, but not for a piece of newspaper blown across the road.