Audi

Cars driving themselves is fast becoming a reality after German brand Audi revealed it is the first carmaker to have been granted a licence to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state of Nevada, USA.

It is the second ever licence given, following in the footsteps of tech giant Google, which was given the go-ahead last year to test its modified Toyota Prius on Nevada's roads.

It's not the first time that Audi has been in the news for its autonomous driving research. In 2010, the firm's Autonomous Audi TTS research car completed the 12.42-mile Pikes Peak Hill Climb course in Colorado in an impressive 27 minutes - around 10 minutes longer than an expert driver would take.

Audi's aim, in the short term at least, is to allow the autonomous technology to take over the mundane tasks of stop-start driving as well as letting cars park in tight parking spaces without a driver at the wheel.

Google currently runs a dozen self-driving cars which have a human behind the wheel, able to take control at any time. The vehicles have driven a combined 300,000 miles in varied traffic conditions without any accidents occurring.

Meanwhile, Lexus is set to reveal a self-driving project at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.