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Driverless cars operated via sensors, microprocessors, software, algorithms, and controllers; also known as autonomous cars and robotic cars. Most of the major automotive companies and some research organizations have developed working prototypes (see illustration). However, these self-driving cars are required to have a driver who can take control of the car when driving on public roads. Sensors for driverless cars include differential GPS, infrared cameras, laser scanners (rangefinders), lidar (light detection and ranging), short- and long-range radar, ultrasonic sensors (which send a high-frequency sound wave and receive an echo), and video cameras, with most cars using three or more types of sensors to probe their environment. Lidar sensors, for example, can be used to generate 3D maps showing everything within about 100 meters of the vehicle. Complex projects for advancing the future of driverless cars include developing extremely reliable computers as well as software and algorithms capable of processing all the information from the sensors. See also: Algorithm; Automobile; Infrared radiation; Lidar; Microprocessor; Programmable controllers; Radar; Rangefinder; Satellite navigation systems; Software; Ultrasonics
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