Self-driving car demo is the first to cross the US-Canada border

It'll show how well autonomous vehicles can handle multi-country trips.

As a rule, self-driving car tests tend to be limited to the country where they started. But that's not how people drive -- what happens when your autonomous vehicle crosses the border? Continental and Magna plan to find out. They're planning to pilot two driverless vehicles all the way from southeastern Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario, making this the first cross-border test of its kind. The machines won't be in complete control for the entire route, but they'll use a combination of cameras, lidar and radar to take over when they can, including two key border crossings (the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Blue Water Bridge).

This isn't the first autonomous driving-related agreement involving Michigan and Ontario, but it's an important one: it'll explore rules and regulations in addition to usual self-driving data collection.

As you might guess, tests like this will be vital to making autonomy a practical reality. Driverless vehicles need to know how to adapt to changing road rules, such as different signage and units of measurement. While this isn't the greatest challenge, it has to be overcome if you're ever going to embark on cross-border shopping trips without touching your steering wheel.