Self-Driving Cars Hit The Road In St. Louis Park

September 08, 2017 09:17 PM

Technology you used to see only in movies is now hitting the streets of St. Louis Park.

In fact, if you see what appears to be a very inattentive driver in the west metro, in actuality, he may have just been letting his self-driving car do the work.

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"I do this every day for work now," said 24-year-old Matthew Linder while sitting in the driver's seat of a retrofitted Kia Soul.

Linder is an AV systems engineer at VSI Labs, which is based in St. Louis Park. They conduct research for companies that are developing automated vehicle technology.

On Friday, VSI invited KSTP over for a test drive.

"Automation equals safety," VSI Founder Phil Magney said. "Because all of those sensors that can self-drive that car are also in that car to make it accident free."

The engineers at VSI equipped it with radar and a camera, which function as sensors, alongside a super computer in the back of the car, which functions as its brains.

"This has the equivalent of 150 MacBook Pros," Magney said of the computer, an Nvidia Drive PX2.

While the notion of self-driving cars may seem futuristic or even farfetched, Magney said it's not.

Magney believes there will be commercial fleets of self-driving taxis in the not-too-distant future. He thinks every car on the road will be automated several decades from now.

"Machines rarely make mistakes," he said. "The sensors never get tired, they never get drunk, they never get distracted."

Put simply, Magney -- along with engineers like Linder -- believes self-driving cars are the future.

"At the end of the day, you have so many compelling reasons that are pushing this movement ahead that nothing is going to stop it," he said.

Credits

Josh Rosenthal

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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