One of Google's most fascinating side projects has been that of the self-driving car. And it's been remarkably successful, getting in only one minor accident which was actually the fault of another, human-driven vehicle.
Since 2009 Google has been the only prominent player in the space (not that there's really a space to be in, at least yet). But this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will prove that self-driving cars are gradually transitioning from hobby to real business.
At CES 2013, two automakers will show off cars with autonomous-driving features. Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus, plans to
lead the industry into a new automated era" with a sensor-loaded car that combines artificial intelligence software, GPS, and roof-mounted lasers to navigate streets and reach destinations in one piece. Toyota's prototype builds on the Lexus LS 600h model, which is the brand's "Ultimate High Performance Luxury Saloon."
The other automaker participating in this emerging trend is Audi. The company hasn't offered many details so far but promises impressive features similar to Google's and Toyota's efforts.
It's a good thing that CES is in Las Vegas, because Nevada last year made it legal for autonomous vehicles to drive on public roads - with an appropriate license, of course. Which currently only Google has. For now.
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