Audi, Toyota Take Step Toward Self-Driving Cars at 2013 CES
- Audi and Toyota will take the wraps off autonomous-driving features at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show on Monday.
- Audi told Edmunds on Saturday it will highlight the "next level" of autonomous driving capabilities, including a feature that allows a car to park itself without help from the driver.
- Toyota will preview the Lexus AASRV, which it teased in a 5-second video on its Web site.
LAS VEGAS — Audi and Toyota will take the wraps off autonomous-driving features at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show on Monday.
Audi told Edmunds on Saturday it will highlight the "next level" of autonomous driving capabilities, including a feature that allows a car to park itself without help from the driver. Audi officials said "the next level involves showing how the car can function capably without a direct line of sight to satellite-based navigation."
Toyota will showcase the Lexus AASRV on Monday, which it teased in a 5-second video on its Web site.
"Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle is leading the industry into a new automated era," Toyota said in a statement.
Toyota's self-driving vehicle is spun off a Lexus LS 600h decked out with radar and camera equipment.
The Japanese automaker's North American-based program is designed to "explore the use of autonomous technologies and high-level driver assistance systems," Toyota said in a statement.
Toyota's ambitious plans for self-driving cars include vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.
Automakers are anxious to come up with technology that not only makes roads safer, but eases gridlock.
Bill Ford Jr., Ford's executive chairman, last year outlined a plan for connected cars to help avoid a "potential future of crippling congestion."
Speaking to the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last February, Ford predicted that the number of cars on the world's roads is forecast to grow from 1 billion now up to 4 billion by mid-century. He proposed that one way of avoiding overcrowded roads is to create a global transportation network that uses communication among vehicles, infrastructure and mobile devices.
"If we do nothing, we face the prospect of 'global gridlock,' a never-ending traffic jam that wastes time, energy and resources and even compromises the flow of commerce and healthcare," Ford said.
He added: "No one company or industry will be able to solve the mobility issue alone and the speed at which solutions take hold will be determined largely by customer acceptance of new technologies."
Edmunds says: The key question is whether consumers will jump on the bandwagon of emerging technologies and self-driving vehicles — not just whether automakers are throwing their hats in the new-tech ring.