China’s Military Transportation University has developed a third-generation unmanned road vehicle with technology that could eventually be implemented for civilian-use, the army’s PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.
The university claimed the new “intelligent car” – codenamed Lion No 3– had hit a top speed of 105km/h during a series of highway tests.
Fully automated and driven by computer, the vehicle managed to safely overtake cars “33 times in 85 minutes”.
The computerised driving system can be overridden by “forced intervention” in case of an emergency.
The vehicle is equipped with radars, cameras and satellite navigation systems attached to different parts of the body.
Information received by these devices is then processed by the car’s computers to determine commands such as direction, acceleration, deceleration and braking distance.
Zheng Naning, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering said that although many questions remain unanswered about unmanned cars, the number of possible applications in the future were still “very wide”.
From a military perspective, unmanned military vehicles mean fewer men are put in harms way when conducting dangerous missions. An unmanned fleet could also generate huge cost-savings and much greater operational efficiency.
Incorporated into civilian-use, the technology could also help curb accidents resulting from driver fatigue. Intelligent cars linked up to city-wide internet cloud systems could also help urban planners solve traffic problems such as congestion, the news report said.