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Audi, Toyota join self-driving car race

John Egan

Look in your rearview mirror, Google. Audi and Toyota are on your tail when it comes to self-driving cars.

In conjunction with the International Consumer Electronics Show, Volkswagen’s Audi brand announced Jan. 7 that it received a license from the State of Nevada to test self-driving cars on public roads there. Audi is the first automaker to get this permission. Internet search giant Google, which is developing self-driving technology, was the first recipient of a Nevada self-driving license.

Audi’s self-driving car was developed by Stanford University and the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley.

Also at the Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota’s Lexus brand has unveiled automotive technology that it said someday “could lead” to a self-driving car. The Lexus innovations include systems designed to avoid and survive crashes.

“In our pursuit of developing more advanced automated technologies, we believe the driver must be fully engaged,” Mark Templin, general manger of Toyota’s Lexus division, said in a news release. “For Toyota and Lexus, a driverless car is just a part of the story. Our vision is a car equipped with an intelligent, always attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving.”

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has estimated that self-driving cars could account for as much as three-fourths of vehicles on the road by 2040.

Other automakers working on self-driving technology include Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan.

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