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Autonomous cars visit Eastern Iowa on trek across country

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 7:23 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A couple of autonomous vehicles made their way into Eastern Iowa today on their way from the Twin Cities down to Texas. The cars are used solely for research and development of self-driving technology and safety features.

The company behind the wheel is VSI Labs. Leaders there told us they have complete control of the vehicles at all times on the road.

”These vehicles are under total control of us as human operators, okay, and so we’re always, you know, we’re at the wheel, hands on the wheel. Even though the vehicle is driving itself, we’re still paying attention to the systems and are prepared to take over whenever we need to,” Phil Magney, president and founder of VSI Labs, said.

They stopped in Hiawatha because Crystal Group there created the automated computer systems inside the cars. VSI tests out vehicle technology for a variety of manufacturers and stopped by the Hiawtha office so employees there could see all of the hard work they put into making the computer systems at work inside an actual car.

”To be able to see it and see some of the diagnostics and video footage of it going down the road is really exciting for the company,” Brian Hamed, the program manager at Crystal Group, said.

VSI Labs takes a different road trip to test out technology about every other month. None of the normal conferences they go to for demonstrations have been happening since the pandemic, so they decided to take the show on the road.

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