Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Volkswagen Develops Self-Driving Car

Text from the Daily Mirror.
The Daily Mail has reported that German car giants Volkswagen [compare Volkswagen prices] has turned fantasy into reality unveiling a fully automatic car that can drive itself - at speeds of up to 150mph.

The remarkable vehicle is the VW Golf GTI ´53 plus 1´ - a codename which refers to the number 53 that Herbie, the famous VW Lovebug carried when racing in his Hollywood adventures.

Using electronic eyes using radar and laser sensors in the grille to ´read´ the road and send the details back to its computer brain. A sat-nav system can track it´s exact position and the car can then work out all the bends and twists it has to get through before setting off.

On the race circuit, the VW Golf GTi ´53 plus 1´ drove itself faster and more precisely than the VW engineers did, and accelerated independently up to 150mph.

To prove this is a real development, VW invited guests to a test track near their world headquarters in Wolfsburg in northern Germany and asked them to design for themselves a variety of different courses, using road cones. They then watched the car navigate around them - on its own.

Until now the fully self driving car has been the stuff of fantasy. Many people will remember watching the Herbie films and Knight Rider in awe, seeing the Love Bug and K.I.T, the cars that drove themelves, wondering if such a vehicle would ever exist.

Anything is possible - the commercialisation of the self driving car is not such an unlikely prospect as it once was and you can be sure that many of the elements which make up the engine will be finding their way into car showrooms within a few years - jut like sat nav and anti-lock brakes have done in recent years. So watch this space.

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