Lasers point at the cylinder and through reflections from the car manage to map out an accurate image of the car’s surroundings complete with depth information that would be unavailable from a conventional camera.
Others rev up
The unveiling of the cars at CES is especially notable because the electronics show comes just a week before the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. That event is one of the largest and most important global automotive shows and is typically where the world’s car makers make major announcements.
Several other car makers are also researching self-driving and autonomous automotive technology.
At last year’s Ceatec exhibition in Japan, Nissan unveiled a prototype car that could park itself, while Volvo is working on a vehicle platoon system that allows cars to automatically follow one another on long stretches of highway. Alongside Google in Silicon Valley, Stanford University has developed a prototype self-driving car based on an Audi TTS.
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Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.