January 05, 2013, 5:47 PM —
IDG News Service/Martyn Williams
Move over, big-screen TVs, cell phones and tablets, because cars might steal the show at next week's International CES.
As preparations for the annual electronics show approach their climax here, two of the most awaited announcements aren't from big-name electronics companies but rather auto makers Toyota and Audi.
Each company plans to unveil prototype self-driving car technology here on Monday.
Toyota offered a tantalizing glimpse at its prototype through a 5-second video clip published online of its "Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle."
The video shows a Lexus car decked out with various sensors on the front grill, rear wheels and the roof, the most striking of which is a spinning cylinder on the roof. A similar device is used in a self-driving car prototype developed by Google and in city mapping cars operated by companies including Nokia.
Lasers point at the cylinder and through reflections from the car manage to map out an accurate image of the car's surroundings complete with depth information that would be unavailable from a conventional camera.