Finnish firm is first to flaunt self-driving car

Martti is the first prototype with future versions anticipated.
Martti is the first prototype with future versions anticipated. | File photo

Most motorists have now heard of self-driving cars, but VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland just upped the ante by developing an autonomous vehicle that performs in the harsh wintry conditions common to that country.

“Martti,” a retrofitted Volkswagen Touareg, recently debuted on infamously icy Lapland roads without a hitch, VTT Technical Research Centre officials reported in a press release. 

While further refinements are needed — more optimized radar plus communications and sensor improvement, for example — VTT Project Manager Matti Kutila told Bloomberg News that the creation’s core software could go a long way toward wider industry access.

Additionally, because Martti is the first prototype with future versions anticipated, the quality of its ride is expected to become smoother over time. Consumers are advised that the model will take a while to hit the streets.

Kutila conveyed that the potential applications are many, however, from simple valet parking and campus shuttle buses to sophisticated communication with infrastructure; with the former possibly up and running as soon as 2020 — well before fully automated driving becomes common, Kutila told Bloomberg News.

“Changing all traffic to automated mode takes lot of time, and we are talking a transition period like 20 to 30 years,” he said according to Bloomberg.

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