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A convoy of 55 self-driving cars built by Chinese carmaker Changan Automobile set a new record for the 'largest parade of autonomous cars' last year. The record was set at the carmaker's Dianjiang test facility in Chongqing, China on the 28th of November, 2019.
The initial convoy of what appear to be SUVs manufactured by the Chinese carmaker measured in at 56 vehicles. However, once the test started, one of the driver's was disqualified. This was due to the fact that the driver had taken control of the car when it was partaking in the parade lap around the 3.2-kilometre long route chosen for the record. Guinness World Records claims that what makes this record even more special is the fact that Changan Automobile actually broke their own record (though no number has been given for the previous attempt) the previous day.
The 56 car convoy completed the 3.2-kilometre long journey along the route selected for the record in 9 minutes and 7 seconds. The Convoy was travelling at 30km/h and each red SUV (except for the first one) was two car lengths behind the one in front of it. Even crazier than the record was what Changan stated about the drivers involved in the test. Yang Guo, autonomous car engineer at Changan Automobile stated, "The drivers who participated in the test had no contact with the autopilot system at all, so we should also build up their confidence in our system in a short period of time to let go [of the controls]."
To help its red cars take the record, Changan Automobile made a few changes to the SUVs. Firstly, the carmaker's engineers tweaked the sensors of the vehicles which helped improve the car's ability to detect the boundaries of its lane and the position of the car in front of it. Each vehicle was capable of identifying its position correctly to within a few centimetres.
The second modification to the car came in the form of the fact that the cars in the convoy drove closer together compared to normal road conditions. To do this, Changan's engineers reduced the cars' object and event detection and response in their dynamic driving task framework from 5% to 1%. This was done due to the controlled parade on the quieter test track having fewer variables compared to normal road conditions.