Citroen C4 Picasso Drives over 400 Km Autonomously from Paris to Belchamp

Citroen C4 Picasso Drives Over 400 Km Autonomously from Paris to Belchamp 4 photos
Photo: PSA Peugeot Citroen
Citroen C4 Picasso Drives Over 400 Km Autonomously from Paris to BelchampCitroen C4 Picasso Drives Over 400 Km Autonomously from Paris to BelchampCitroen C4 Picasso Drives Over 400 Km Autonomously from Paris to Belchamp
One small step for the French car industry, one giant leap for the people who hate boring commutes. Last year, PSA Peugeot Citroen revealed the first French-built autonomous car. At the start of 2016, engineers began re-testing the tech-filled Grand C4 Picasso by taking it down the highway from Paris to Belchamp without the help of a driver.
Why is that important? Because Google tells us the shortest route is 450 kilometers long and takes about 4 hours. So Peugeot is really pushing the autonomous technology to its limits. Located near the border with Switzerland and Germany, Belchamp is just 10 minutes away from the Sochaux factory, which is also a hub of manufacturing for the French automaker.

Currently, the factory produces the 308 compact, 3008 and 5008 crossovers and the DS5 premium MPV model. Unfortunately, the C4 Picasso is made in Spain, so they couldn't throw it a "coming home" party.

The self-driving Citroen is capable of changing its speed to the road conditions and traffic, as well as independently changing lanes to pass slower traffic. On the last 178 kilometers of the journey, member of the French press were allowed to sit inside the car and witness the "miracle."

The autonomous vehicle itself contained a vast array of onboard systems, including radar, automated braking, steering, and acceleration, GPS, and digital cameras. As you can see from these photos, there's not much left of the trunk, thanks to the master control unit.

"The journey made by our prototype today proves that autonomous vehicles are no longer a matter of science fiction," Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the managing board of PSA Peugeot Citroen, previously said. "This ushers in a new era of mobility, which I find truly exciting."

PSA expects such a vehicle to be ready for mass production before the end of the decade. However, it's won't be a Level 5 system that's fully autonomous. Instead, we'll get a Level 3 system that drives itself in certain situations and could require the driver's intervention if necessary. Basically, you don't need to touch anything or even pay attention, but you do need to stay awake.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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