Back in October 2010 we first learned that Google was working on a self-driving car and the vehicle of choice was a Toyota Prius. Well it looks as though the idea could finally be catching on as Lexus and Audi are following Google with their own self-driving cars, which were on show during CES.
You might wonder why this technology is not being shown during one of the large Auto Shows, but the kind of technology being used in these vehicles is ideal for the Consumer Electronics Show. Toyota is calling their project the Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle (AASRV) and while they are looking to perfect the car, what they are most interested in is what they can learn from the vehicle.
It has been reported that the car is to have the Lexus brand and will be packed with all the latest technology to make the car self-driving, and the main part of this tech is LIDAR, which are a set of lasers that keep an eye on everything that is going on around the vehicle. There’s also radar all-round, HD cameras and also GPS to keep a constant check on the vehicles position. However, don’t hold your breath just yet because we are a long way from seeing cars driving themselves.
Audi concur with this and suggest that their own version of the self-driving car is at least a decade from going into production. The German car manufacturer was also at CES showing off what they have planned, and while we would assume that Audi would have the better car in terms of build quality, we would have assumed that the electronics in the Lexus would have the edge.
Having said that, Audi has taken what Google and Toyota have done and made a more compact version so was able to fit behind the grille of a stock Audi A7 instead of having the equipment on the roof like on the other vehicles. We’re told that the demonstration from them during CES was rather impressive because they called the car from where it was parked via an app, the car then drove itself from where it was parked and proceeded to the front of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas.
We do love the idea of cars driving themselves because if we all had vehicles like this then this would certainly reduce the risk of accidents and traffic jams, although this is still a long way off — we can’t even see it being widespread in a decade either.