Self-driving cars to take the stage at CES

Toyota and Audi are set to announce self-driving cars at CES this week, indicating that the technology really may be about to hit the mainstream.

Toyota has released a brief video clip of its new Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle (AASRV) car in action.

Complete with on-board radar and video cameras, it’s a Lexus LS 600h fitted with Toyota’s Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technology, and looks a lot like Google’s famous prototypes.

It monitors everything from whether the driver’s fallen asleep to the color of traffic lights and the position of nearby pedestrians, other cars and road markings. It can also communicate with other vehicles.

“Not the Jetsons yet, but our adv active safety research car is leading the industry into a new automated era,” says the company in a tweet.

The company’s top-of-the-range Lexus LS already boasts radar that can detect people walking in front of a vehicle and automatically stop the car.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Audi has also developed a self-driving prototype. At CES this week, it’s expected to give a demo of the car finding a parking space and parking itself without any help from the driver.

Driverless cars are now legal in California and Nevada, and Volvo and Nissan have already demonstrated prototypes, with Volvo promising commercial models by next year.