Switzerland's first driverless car hits Zurich roads

Switzerland's first driverless car hits Zurich roads

ZURICH - Swiss telephone firm Swisscom on Tuesday unveiled a driverless car that is being tested on the roads of Zurich, a first in the country.

A driverless car in the US. Such cars are being tested in several cities

The Volkswagen Passat, which began road tests last week that will end on Thursday, has been equipped with sensors, computers and special software.

"Swisscom is interested in the digitisation of the economy," company official Christian Petit told reporters, showing the vehicle to the press for the first time.

"Swisscom is not turning into a car manufacturer. But future innovations in the automotive industry will centre on networking with the environment. For this reason, the driverless car is a prime example of digitisation and therefore of great interest to us," he said in a statement.

The computer drives, steers and brakes the car and uses laser scanners, radar and video cameras to detect nearby vehicles and pedestrians and road users.

The software is used to issue driving commands and analyse data.

The project also involves Germany's AutoNomos Labs, which has run similar tests in Berlin.

The test Passat has two people in it as a precautionary measure, just in case a driver has to take over.

Driverless cars are being tested in several European countries including Britain and in US cities, including by Internet giant Google.

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