Driverless car navigates Berlin streets

Driverless car navigates Berlin streets

Credit: AP

In this Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 photo Autonomos Labs assistant Paul Czerwionka touches a 360 degree laser scanner on top of a car Berlin, Germany. The car is driven by a computer that steers, starts and stops itself. The 360 degrees laser scanner on top of the car, a GPS system and other sensors monitor the surrounding traffic. A driver sits only for security reasons behind the steering wheel. The Autonomos team is part of the Artificial Intelligence Group of the Free University Berlin (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

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AP

Posted on September 20, 2011 at 3:59 PM

BERLIN (AP) -- The car of the future has been making its way around the streets of Berlin.

The driver of the future isn't needed.

And that's the point of the car. It can talk, see and drive -- and it no longer needs a human to control it by remote.

It maneuvers through traffic on its own, using a sophisticated set of devices -- including a computer, electronics and a precision satellite navigation system in the trunk. There's a camera in the front, and laser scanners on the roof and around the front and rear bumpers.

A researcher at the city's Free University says the car can even see if traffic lights are red or green, and react accordingly.

Several other groups have also been working on such technology recently. Google has been testing a robotic Toyota Prius in Nevada.

One German expert estimates that it could take only another decade before the fully automatic cars start becoming available. And even when the technological issues are resolved, there will still be the legal issues. If there's an accident involving a driverless car, who's responsible?

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