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The car of the future

Staff Reporter

A car that runs on its own may hit the roads in a decade or so A car that runs on its own may hit the roads in a decade or so

BANGALORE: A car that runs on its own may hit the roads in a decade or so.

Thomas Weber, Global Head of Technology of Daimler Chrysler (the company that makes Mercedes-Benz) said on Wednesday that the car of the future could drive itself or let its owner drive it.

"Since car owners love driving them on their own, the car of the future should provide both the options," he told The Hindu during his visit to the Daimler Chrysler Research and Technology, India, here on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

"If you are on a holiday and if you want to relax as you travel, you will be able to do that. Just drive yourself out of your city and sleep off, letting your car drive you for the next thousand kilometres or so," he said.

The smart car would still be on wheels and "it will not fly." It will have radar and camera-based sensors to figure out its path. It will have chic interiors that make the riders totally safe. It will have to be lighter, with an intelligent mix of aluminium, steel and other material to make it safe.

Dr. Weber said the possibility of such cars had been technologically demonstrated. Daimler Chrysler had the technology but it would need the "investment" to produce such cars.

It could take 10 to 20 years to have such cars ready for sale, he said.

It was definitely a possibility in developed countries that have good roads and efficient fuels, he said. But he wondered whether Indian roads and conditions would be conducive for such cars in the near future.

The technology that would suit Indian conditions might have to be developed, he said. It should be able to identify slow-moving bullock carts and cows, besides pedestrians.

Radar technology could hardly detect cows and bullock carts, Bharat Balasubramanium, Head of Passenger Vehicle Development, Daimler Chrysler said.

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