March 20th, 2012
04:46 AM GMT
Berlin (CNN) – A new vehicle has found its way onto Berlin’s street: a car that does not demand a driver.
Developed by Dr. Raul Rojas and his team at Berlin’s Freie University, this computer-controlled car is equipped with sophisticated lasers, radar, video cameras and a sensitive GPS system.
"What we think is that this can be the car of the future in the sense that you don't need to drive,” said Rojas. “It would be like a taxi. You don't even need to own a car, you don't have to park the car, you don't need a garage at home."
"They [parked cars] are not driving, they are not moving,” said Rojas. “You can move the complete city of Berlin combining public transportation with AutoNOMOS taxis [driverless cars], using just 10% of the cars we have now.
“That means if you remove 90% of the cars from the street, then the streets become wider and you go faster to where you're going so it's more comfortable, it takes less time, it's cheaper. That's why we think it's the way of the future."
After years of persuasion, Berlin’s authorities finally deemed Roja’s innovation as safe and allowed the driverless cars to be out in the public. However, permission is granted under two conditions: safety drivers behind the steering wheels regardless and insurance.
“We are insured for 100 million euros" said Rojas.
CNN’s Richard Quest puts its safety to the test as he goes for a test drive in the driver-less car.
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