Get Ready for the LEXBOT

 
 
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Think the above video is just a joke? In a few years, the self-driving car will be a reality, and no one will blink at a driverless vehicle showing up for fries and a shake.

Okay, that may be taking it a little far, but the era of the self-driving vehicle has definitely arrived. Mercedes Benz, BMW and Cadillac have all debuted cars with self-driving components, and now Audi and LEXUS are demonstrating cutting edge tech that will leave drivers behind. As the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas gets underway with a record number of auto manufacturers in attendance as presenters, high tech auto choices are becoming more and more the norm.

Audi's self-parking feature was demonstrated at CES. With the push of a button, the car (with the driver outside of it) parks itself by using a series of sensors to navigate its space. Audi sees the human driver as a "co-pilot" and envisions a time when the car itself will handle the mundane aspects of driving like stop and go traffic. The manufacturer has a permit to test autonomous vehicles on the road, something on Google so far has attempted.

Meanwhile, Lexus is also exploring the further realms of tech assist with a car that scans objects around it, identifies traffic signals, and a radar that measures the speed and location of objects near it.

Many high-end vehicles already include such driver assist tech as lane-departure warnings, blind-spot warnings, and adaptive cruise control, not to mention the parallel parking assist.

Auto makers see this technology as helping to increase safety on the roads, less an elimination of driving skills than a partner in making good decisions. That may be the case, but it still feels to us like we're building our cars to be smarter than we are. Check out the video below to see the Lexus self-driving tech in action:

 
 
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Aftab Khowaja (Wed, 09 Jan 2013 12:06:15 -0800): I just need to be able to take a nap in traffic jams, that is all I ask.