What we haven't seen however is such a vehicle driving for a staggering 8,000 miles (12,874 km) on its own. And it's exactly this type of journey which is being prepared by an Italian engineering team called VisLab.
The trip will take four vehicles, two manned and two unmanned, from Italy to China, through Siberia and the Gobi desert, all the way to Shanghai in a three-month long journey.
The unmanned vehicles are equipped with lasers, scanners and cameras to help them navigate their way. The unmanned vehicle will travel behind a manned one, to be able to orient itself. Unfortunately, no other details regarding the navigation system they use have been provided.
The goal of the journey is to see, first of all, if it can be done. Secondly, the engineers who began the trip yesterday, July 20, say they are doing it to see whether the transportation world could work without people doing the driving.
"What we are trying to do is stress our systems and see if they can work in a real environment, with real weather, real traffic and crazy people who cross the road in front of you and a vehicle that cuts you off," project leader Alberto Broggi was quoted as saying by UKPA.
The journey and updates on how the trip is going can be seen at the following link.