Major European automotive supplier Continental has invested over $130 million into the development of a self-driving car. Whilst they first began experimenting with self-driving cars in 2007, sources from within the company now state that they believe their ambition will be realized by 2020.
Currently, continental have over 1,300 researchers working on technology which will be able to both give drivers aid, as well as take over control of the car all together. Developers expect to have partially automated cars by at least 2016, whilst fully automated consumer models may be out on the market by as early as 2020, if their research continues as planned. Currently Continental are also licensed to test the self-driving cars in Nevada, and have collective logged approximately 15,000 miles of self-driving so far with zero accidents occurring.
Continental certainly aren’t alone in their search for the self-driving car, though, and their competition is in hot pursuit. Both BMW and General Motors are aiming at the release of a self-driving car by 2020, whilst technology giants Google have plans to engineer a car of their own in the self-drive race.
Both Continental and Google are using a laser-based system which will allow the computers built into the car to scan the surroundings. This data will be interpreted along with radar and stereo photography to determine the best course for the vehicle.