It seems like autonomous, driverless cars are the next big thing. First Google announces that many of those Google-branded cars you've been seeing around were actually robotic cars they've been working on for years, now we have a scientific project from a group of researchers at Berlin's Free University which shows that it's possible to call a cab using only your iPad.
The taxi is completely driverless.
The car is equipped with a GPS unit, cameras, sensors and laser scanners to render a virtual 3D map of the surroundings. This system allows the car to avoid pedestrians, other cars and obstacles. The researchers claim it's completely safe. To call the taxi, you can use an iPad running the dedicated application which sends GPS coordinates to the taxi and lets you even check on the car location and route.
I don't know if I'll ever take a ride from an empty cab, but sure the technology is promising. Maybe these researchers don't have access to Google's resources and tech power, but what they've built so far is impressive.
Check out a demo video below. [via CNET]