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Toyota, Audi join global drive to develop unmanned cars

Posted January. 08, 2013 03:36,   


Toyota and Audi have joined the global drive to develop unmanned vehicles that operate on their own.

Automakers that had been reluctant to develop unmanned vehicles due to safety fears have joined the campaign, and this could mean cutting-edge unmanned vehicles could make their debut on streets sooner than later.

Toyota recently posted a five-second video clip of its Lexus AARSV, which is equipped with sensors on the move, with the phrase, “We will open an era of new automobiles.” The model has radar and cameras that sense and monitor on their own the movement of other vehicles, lanes and traffic signals, and can operate automatically without the motorist driving it. The Japanese carmaker on Sunday said it will publicize details about the vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday.

David Sullivan of Auto Pacific, an automotive research company, said, “As Toyota has joined the foray, competition to develop unmanned vehicles will pick up momentum.” The Wall Street Journal said German automaker Audi will demonstrate at the Las Vegas show an unmanned vehicle that can find a parking space and park on its own.

Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said, “Unmanned vehicle technology will soon become a reality, and it will be a great solution to avoid traffic delays.”

Mercedes Benz is developing a technology to enable its S-class passenger car to automatically start and stop in response to traffic signals.

Google, which entered the unmanned vehicle field in 2009, conducted road tests on a prototype last year. The state councils of Nevada, Florida and California also recently passed bills on unmanned cars.