More than a half dozen major automakers as well as electric vehicle (EV) startup Tesla announced automated driving technology, introduced a self-driving research vehicle, or both. Here's a recap of each automaker's autonomous car rollout in 2013.
Audiannounced its autonomous car plans at International CES last January – and at the same time became the first automaker to obtain a license for a self-driving car from Nevada. At CES, Audi showed a stock Audi A7 equipped with additional sensors that allowed it to self-drive in traffic and also park itself in a crowded public garage.
Ford unveiled a Fusion Hybrid Automated Research Vehicle earlier this month that the company will use to test self-driving technology as well as vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Ford chose the Fusion Hybrid because the current production version already offers several driver-assist technologies, including adaptive cruise control and a lane-keeping system, and added to the roof four LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) sensors like those used on Google's autonomous vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz used the occasion of the release of its redesigned flagship S-Class model to show off its autonomous car technology. And to prove that it's ready for the real world, Mercedes revealed that a 2014 S500 drove itself from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany, a distance of more than 60 miles, on public roads through cities and on highways.
Nissan not only introduced a self-driving Leaf EV in Japan in August that it will use for testing autonomous technology, but the automaker also promised to have multiple self-driving vehicles on the market by 2020. Nissan's Autonomous Drive technology, as shown on the Leaf, included cameras, laser scanners, and advanced artificial intelligence.
Tesla made headlines in 2013 for the success of its Model S, soaring stock price, car fire controversy, and CEO Elon Musk taking on the New York Times over an unfavorable review. The EV startup also plans to include self-driving technology on future models, andMusk took to Twitter in September to announce that "engineers interested in working on autonomous driving" should email Tesla.