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Well, we all assumed that our robot overlords would come from a lab in Silicon Valley, and it turns out we were right. We just didn't expect them to speak with a French accent...
Renault claims to have taken a major leap forward with an autonomous driving system that can tackle difficult driving conditions not only as well as a human, but as well as a professional test driver.
"At Groupe Renault, we are focused on being an innovation leader in products, technology and design," said Simon Hougard, Director of Renault Open Innovation Lab - Silicon Valley. "Our innovation efforts aim to develop advanced autonomous driving technologies that consumers can trust will create a safer, more comfortable journey."
Renault has set up the Innovation Lab in California to work on high-tech stuff such as this, and it's claiming that its new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) was not only inspired and benchmarked against the best professional drivers, but that it marks a major step forward towards true 'hands-off, minds-off' driving. The system is based on the work of the renowned Stanford University Dynamic Design Lab, and Professor Chris Gerdes, former Chief Innovation Officer for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Called 'Callie', the automobile is based on an electric Zoe, and is 'taught' how to avoid unexpected obstacles, or deal with a slalom course of cones, by a human test driver. Callie can then mimic that driving style and inputs, and go faster and faster through the course.
Renault says that the work it's doing in Silicon Valley right now is a major keystone for as many as 15 models, spread across the group, which it wants to put on sale with advanced autonomous features, by 2022.
Watch a video of Callie at work here: