By Ian Sherr and Mike Ramsey
Toyota Motor Corp. and Audi AG are throwing their hats into the ring of potential suppliers of self-driving vehicles.
Both auto makers confirmed on Thursday that they will be demonstrating autonomous-driving features at the Consumer Electronics Show in the coming week, signaling a new effort to raise the technology’s profile among consumers.
In a preview video posted to its website on Thursday, Toyota showed a five-second clip of one of its Lexus brand cars outfitted with various sensors and the caption, “Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle is leading the industry into a new automated era.”
An Audi official also said the luxury-car company will be demonstrating autonomous vehicle capabilities at the Las Vegas show, including a feature that allows a car to find a parking space and park itself without a driver behind the wheel.
Toyota’s prototype vehicle is a Lexus LS 600h fitted with radar and camera equipment that can detect other vehicles, road lane lines and traffic signals, giving the vehicle the ability to navigate streets without a driver. It also includes what appears to be the same roof-mounted laser that Google Inc. has been using on its autonomous research cars. Google began testing self-driving cars in 2009.
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(Published January 3, 2013, in The Wall Street Journal.)