Renault shows off self-driving car that can avoid obstacles as well as pro test drivers

Megan Rose Dickey

French carmaker Renault has developed technology that enables self-driving cars to avoid obstacles in emergency situations at up to the same speeds as professional test drivers. TechCrunch had the chance to see it in action a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty impressive.

During the demo, I tried to avoid the obstacles at just 23 mph and ended up driving over a cone. Meanwhile, the car in autonomous mode was able to successfully avoid the obstacles and the cones at 27 mph.

"The technology really is inspired by professional test drivers," Shad Laws, autonomous driving lead at Renault Open Innovation Lab, told TechCrunch. "Despite popular belief, our feeling is that humans are actually pretty amazing drivers. In most developed countries, they can do less than one fatality per 100 million miles. That’s really hard to beat. However, meeting and beating that benchmark is essential to ensure safety and realize the dreams of our autonomous cars."

In September, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi laid out how its alliance plans to be one of the leaders in electric and autonomous vehicles. Dubbed Alliance 2022, the plan is to launch 12 electric cars and 40 vehicles with autonomous driving technology by 2022. Renault will specifically launch more than 15 models of cars with different levels of autonomous driving capabilities by 2022.

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