Toyota teases self-driving car ahead of CES

Toyota has teased its new self-driving car technology ahead of CES 2013, taking place in Las Vegas next week, showing us that in the future we may not have to be in front of the wheel to drive from A to Z.

Toyota used one of its Lexus research vehicles to show off the technology, with which it promises to "lead the industry into a new automated era".

Much like Google's self-driving vehicles - seen around California in testing in recent years - Toyota has included on-board radar and video cameras to assist with the driving.

The car monitors traffic signals, other cars on the road and even whether the driver is awake while it travels at fast speeds down the road. 

The teaser video, which lasts all of 5 seconds, shows a prototype Lexus LS fitted with what Toyota has described as an "Intelligent Transport Systems" (ITS) technology. It looks to be travelling at some speed, in a straight line, before overtaking the car in front with the camera.  

"We're looking at a car that would eliminate crashes," a company spokesman told the BBC. "Zero-collisions is our ultimate aim." Toyota plans to announce the car at its Monday 7 January event at CES. 

Toyota isn't the only one looking to replicate scenes regularly found in sci-fi movies. Audi, perhaps inspired by featuring in iRobot with Will Smith, also plans to show off a self-driving car at the event, but is being a little quieter on the exact details.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Audi's version will be able to find an unoccupied parking space on its own and even park without assistance from the driver. 

While there's still a few years before we'll see self-driving cars rolling out to customers in their masses, some serious headway is being made. In 2011, Google was awarded an autonomous car patent and even received a self-driving car licence in Nevada last May.

Pocket-lint will be hands-on with any automobile announcements at CES. The world's largest tech trade show kicks-off Sunday.