A few months ago, Peugeot embarked on a 3,000 kilometer road trip through France and Spain. This would normally not be a big deal, as humans all around the world take road trips a few thousand kilometers long, myself included… however, Peugeot took this road trip in its new autonomous driving Citroen.
While the car is not yet ready for production, as evidenced by the rear hatch packed full of tech and messy wires, it is an impressive feat that shows what Peugeot is doing and where it’s going with the brand. With the cost of electric vehicles dropping and the price of technology dropping by the day, autonomous driving technology is also becoming more and more mainstream. With dozens of companies building the tech now, the price will also be dropping, bringing autonomous driving to the masses along the way.
While no fully autonomous vehicles (also known as Level 4 Autonomous Driving vehicles) are for sale, there are a number of exciting prototypes being touted around by companies that can circle the cones, follow the lines, and even differentiate between humans, bikes, signs and other cars in and around the road. This gets really exciting when those same prototypes start hitting the roads with all of the amazing tech that makes them tick.
Peugeot going on a journey and not just touring around Mountain View, CA, but getting out and mixing in with normal traffic across some serious terrain is an interesting sign. Granted, freeway travel is quite a bit easier than travel around town, and Tesla already has Autopilot-enabled freeway driving in production, but it’s still extremely impressive.
It was, of course, a hyped up media event, but came supported by a full suite of information about the car and the brains inside. There’s also a pretty straightforward video covering the autonomous driving features of the prototype Peugeot Citroen.
The video shares some interesting details that are unique, including the obviously out of place vertical screen with a USB plug sticking out the bottom. This appears to be a part of the autonomous driving solution, and likely won’t make it into a production vehicle. Though, it wouldn’t surprise me to see another manufacturer copying one of Tesla’s key selling points.
Lane changing is another fantastic feature, and I know, I know… Tesla already does this. But this lane changing is different… it’s autonomous. The car will change lanes by itself, presumably weaving in and out of traffic to maximize throughput at the desired speed.
One key piece of information that’s not present in the video is how the car is controlled. If this is truly an autonomous car, the person giving directions (the “guider?” the “instructor?” the “boss?”) to the car has to have a way to tell the car where to take them. It is presumably a function of that oversized touchscreen (for a normal car) and it would have been great to get more details on this particular piece of the solution, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Peugeot makes the news over at CleanTechnica regularly, and it’s exciting to see some of the latest work it’s doing on next-gen autos. Kudos to GregTexas over at Tesla Motors Club forums for the video.
Images and video by Peugeot