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Autonomous Cars Could Let Drivers Check Email

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highway traffic

Credit: BeenUp2

Oxford University researchers are developing autonomous vehicle technology that enables drivers to check their email while the car drives itself. The technology uses data from onboard sensors, cameras, radars, lasers, and downloaded information such as aerial photos and real-time Internet queries. The project aims to create a car with a central computer that is capable of continuously learning from experiences and interpreting situations, says Oxford's Paul Newman.

The researchers plan to test the technology on a car driven around a privately hired race track to investigate a variety of safety issues, including whether the car can handle various weather conditions, road surfaces, pedestrian hazards, and lighting.

Newman says that more sophisticated intelligent vehicle technology makes the concept of an autonomous vehicle realistic. "Cars are going to have infinite computation and access to infinite storage because they are going to be connected to the Internet the whole time, which is the cloud," he says.

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