First driverless car on the market

First driverless car on the market

The race to be first to put a driverless car on sale has been won by a small technology company based just outside Paris.

Induct Technology beat Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota to the accolade when it launched the £170,000 Navia, an all-electric self-driving shuttle, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, United States.

It is likely to be some time before the Navia is spotted on the nations highways.Journey planning is tricky as it is unable to recognise traffic signals at the moment - and international regulations currently prevent driverless cars taking to public roads.

However, the French company has billed it as a "first-mile, last-mile" solution for use around college campuses, hospitals, industrial sites or shopping malls - where conventional cars are impractical or simply unwelcome.

Induct also sees potential for Navias to add to the mobility options considered by elderly and disabled people.

The Navia - which runs on batteries developed by British company Oxis Energy - finds its way around using laser-based light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors, once engineers have set up a baseline map of where it is going to operate.

The sensors give a 200-yard sweep of the road ahead, accurate to within a centimetre, while cameras serve as the shuttle's eyes.

Copyright Press Association 2014