‘Sorry, Google’: Toyota and Audi to Unveil Self-driving Cars at CES 2013 [Video]

Toyota and Audi are preparing to unveil cars with driverless technology at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

Two of the most famous auto makers confirmed on Thursday their intends to show off autonomous-driving features at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, an important step towards raising the technology’s profile among consumers.

The Japanese company has already posted a previews video to its website on Thursday.

A five-second clip features one the company’s Lexus brand cars outfitted with various sensors and the caption, “Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle is leading the industry into a new automated era.”

A new car includes on-board radar and video cameras to monitor the road, the surroundings, and the driver. It can also communicate with other vehicles, a Toyota spokesman revealed.

For example, autonomous-driving vehicle could signal cars around it when it stops or turns or when it encounters a slippery road surface, CNN reports.

“We’re looking at a car that would eliminate crashes,” said the spokesman. “Zero-collisions is our ultimate aim.”

A series of optical beacons on the roadside are designed to detect the positions of pedestrians and obstacles, and give information to the prototype about current color of a traffic light, as part of ITS. The car can also independently monitor pedestrians’ positions.

“Not the Jetsons yet, but our advanced active safety research car is leading the industry into a new automated era,” Toyota said in a Tweet on Thursday.

Dave Sullivan, an analyst with research firm AutoPacific Inc., predicted that Toyota’s decision to throw its name behind autonomous driving technology will likely spur adoption.

“To have somebody with the weight of Toyota throwing their weight behind this is impressive,” Mr. Sullivan said.

He went on, adding that the Japanese auto maker has already been spotted testing an autonomous vehicle near its Ann Arbor, Mich., engineering campus.

Meanwhile, an Audi official also confirmed that the auto maker will demonstrate autonomous vehicle capabilities at the Las Vegas show, including a feature that allows a car to find a parking space and park itself without using a wheel.

By the way, besides Audi, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz, other car makers are developing autonomous driving technology as well, informs The Wall Street Journal.

Ford Motor Co Chairman Bill Ford Jr. suggested in one of the interviews that autonomous cars are a good solution to congestion problems as they could be coordinated with traffic information and reroute drivers past traffic jams.

The Internet searching giant Google has been the most visible proponent of autonomous cars so far.

The company has released videos of its self-driving cars in action and has lobbied to legalize computer-controlled cars, recently scoring legislative wins in Nevada, Florida and California.

Google has been awarded an autonomous car patent , and secured a Nevada driving licence for its self-drive car in May 2012.

According to Prof Paul Newman, who heads an Oxford University autonomous car project project, autonomous vehicles could drastically improve road safety.

“Computers will be ever vigilant. They don’t get distracted,” Prof Newman said on Friday.

Professor continued, adding that car systems can be engineered so that a systems failure will not result in a crash, he added.

Thus, a driverless future might be coming sooner than we think – but we’ll have to wait for CES 2013 to roll around to find out more.

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