In recent months, Google has been at the forefront of self-driving cars. But now, traditional car companies like Toyota and Audi are embracing the technology.
This week, Toyota revealed footage of its vehicle in action, while Audi reportedly has plans to unveil its own autonomous car during next week’s Consumer Electronics Show.
The Toyota prototype is a Lexus LS 600h, dubbed the AASRV (Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle). Although the video clip is brief at only five seconds, it does give us a look at an apparently driverless car smoothly whipping its way down a highway. First spotted by the Wall Street Journal, the video clip is accompanied by a caption that reads, “Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle is leading the industry into a new automated era.”
Those familiar with Google’s self-driving car will immediately notice how similar the AASRV looks in terms of robotic add-ons. Like the Google vehicle – which is actually a souped-up Toyota Prius – the Toyota prototype is fitted with radar and camera components that allow it to navigate its way on city streets, detect traffic lights, and remain aware of other cars on the road. However, despite the visual similarities, Toyota says that its technology was developed independently of any research occurring at Google.
Also mentioned in the report is the luxury car company Audi, which also has plans to unveil its own autonomous car sometime next week. According to an Audi spokesperson, in addition to driving, the car will also be able to find parking spaces and park itself.
While Google played a key role in the passing of driverless car laws in various states including California, these latest developments indicate that when we do see our first driverless cars on the road, they will likely come from an automotive giants rather than from the innovation labs of Google.
For more, see Will Google Make Money Off the Self-Driving Car?