Eureka Prometheus Project

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The Eureka PROMETHEUS Project (PROgraMme for a European Traffic of Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety, 1987-1995) was the largest R&D project ever in the field of driverless cars. It received 749 million in funding from the EUREKA member states,[1] and defined the state of the art of autonomous vehicles. Numerous universities and car manufacturers participated in this Pan-European project.

PROMETHEUS profited from the participation of Ernst Dickmanns, the 1980s pioneer of driverless cars, and his team at Bundeswehr Universität München, collaborating with Daimler-Benz. A first culmination point was achieved in 1994, when their twin robot vehicles VaMP and VITA-2 drove more than one thousand kilometers on a Paris multi-lane highway in standard heavy traffic at speeds up to 130 km/h. They demonstrated autonomous driving in free lanes, convoy driving, automatic tracking of other vehicles, and lane changes left and right with autonomous passing of other cars.[citation needed]

The next culmination point was achieved in 1995, when Dickmanns´ re-engineered autonomous S-Class Mercedes-Benz took a 1000-mile trip from Munich in Bavaria to Copenhagen in Denmark and back, using saccadic computer vision and transputers to react in real time. The robot achieved speeds exceeding 175 km/h on the German Autobahn, with a mean time between human interventions of 9 km. In traffic it executed manoeuvres to pass other cars. Despite being a research system without emphasis on long distance reliability, it drove up to 158 km without any human intervention.[citation needed]


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  1. ^ "EUREKA Project E!45 PROMETHEUS". EUREKA website. Retrieved 2013-08-28.