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Pa. Congressman, Transportation Director Test Driverless CMU Car

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(Photo credit: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – You may have heard the expression, “This car drives itself.” Well, it’s not just an expression any more.

A Cadillac SRX makes its way from Cranberry Township to I-79 south. The man in the driver’s seat never touches the wheel.

“We have a laser here, and a radar behind the bumper,” Raj Rajkumar, who led a federally-funded team of Carnegie Mellon researchers, points out the driverless car’s attributes. “The radar can actually see through the bumper. We also have a radar behind this emblem.”

He says this is a car that sees almost everything.

“Once we turn this way, we don’t see that way. But this is seeing all around all the time. So in a very real sense, it definitely has the capability to do a lot more than humans can,” says Rajkumar.

The self-driving car arrives at the airport, transporting Congressman Bill Shuster and state transportation director Barry Schoch to a news conference, right on time.

Schoch says, “2018, 2019 is when they believe they’re going to put this into the fleet to where it’s not going to be so cost prohibitive that people won’t make the decision.

“These cars, smart cars are going to sense things that humans don’t do today,” says Rep. Shuster. “So it will be much safer out there on the road.”

It was just five years ago that CMU developed a driverless SUV capable of speeds up to 14 miles an hour. Obviously, that one did not go out on the parkway. But this one can, and does.

Lead engineer Jarrod Snider, who sits in the driver’s seat, points out the Cadillac’s super GPS.

“If you look at this screen,” he says, “you can see the sensors are detecting objects, like that car that’s driving by.”

The future is just down the road.

Click here for more information on CMU’s driverless vehicle.

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