ZMP RoboCar automated vehicleEnlarge Photo
ZMP's RoboCar doesn't quite have the aesthetics or practicality (and especially not the performance) of Google's automated Toyota Prius, but the technology it demonstrates is no less relevant.
Japanese firm ZMP has shown off the RoboCar's latest trick in a new video. During a leisurely, golf-cart style drive around a quiet parkland road under the control of a young woman, the RoboCar scans the route ahead, taking note of its own position and the topography of the land around it.
Its party piece is then using this route data as a digital map and combining it with data from the earlier drive to then replicate the route completely autonomously.
As a result you can watch the rather freaky scene of the car driving itself around the park with no driver aboard, steering wheel rotating as if by magic as it follows the line etched into its memory like an ant foraging for food.
Although the car itself doesn't have the practical application of Google's Prius, it does seem suited to low speed, low distance drives. We could see it suiting crowded inner cities in the form of autonomous pods taking businesspeople to and from work each day, or as the perfect answer to end drink driving, allowing you to drive to a bar whilst sober and letting the car take you home again in the early hours of the morning...
Check out ZMP's video below.