A DRIVERLESS car that can steer around obstacles just as well as a professional test driver has been developed by French car maker Renault.
The car, codenamed Callie, has been created by engineers at the Renault Open Innovation Centre in Silicon Valley, California which Renault shares with its sister brand Nissan.
The autonomous control system - which Renault claims is an industry first - enables the car to recognise objects as thin as a piece of plastic tape and take avoiding action.
Renault and Nissan have already announced they plan to have autonomous vehicles on the road by 2022 and the research in the United States is seen as a major step forward.
Simon Hougard, director of the innovation centre, said: "At Groupe Renault, we are focused on being an innovation leader in products, technology and design. Our innovation efforts aim to develop advanced autonomous driving technologies that consumers can trust will create a safer, more comfortable journey."
In tests, the Callie robo-car has successfully completed slalom manoeuvres driving through a line of traffic cones and has also shown itself to be capable of steering around obstacles as effectively as its team of professional drivers
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has been developing autonomous vehicle technology for several years and has some 15 models in the pipeline that will be fitted with advanced safety systems.
One of the first to feature the new technology will be the latest Nissan Qashqai which will be available with a semi-autonomous drive control system called ProPILOT from spring 2018.
It uses a variety of sensors to enable the car to keep in its lane while steering, accelerating and braking automatically either in heavy traffic or on motorways.