Tokyo Motor Show attendees get a chance not to drive a self-driving Toyota Prius

Autonomous cars are scary. But not nearly as scary as some of the human drivers out there. Knowing this, Toyota is aiming to win friends and influence drivers by giving them a chance to witness their new AVOS (Automatic Vehicle Operation System) in action. Attendees of the Tokyo Motor Show next week will be able to hitch a ride while the car drives itself around the company's Smart Mobility Park.

Toyota hopes the self-operating cars that are aware of their surroundings and in constant contact with similar models also on the road of the future will help dramatically reduce injuries and deaths from auto accidents. While this sort of technology – not to mention its acceptance – is a long way off, multiple auto makers are investing millions of dollars into the necessary research and development. While the cars operate independently of a driver, someone still has to be physically seated in the driver's seat, and manual control can be returned to human hands at any time. GM, Ford an Volkswagen are already working towards the same goal.

Here in the US Google has become a strange bedfellow with the auto industry, demonstrating its autonomous vehicles built on, you guessed it, the Prius. The tests have done very well, with the self-driving cars navigating San Francisco with ease. Only one accident has been reported so far, and that was when one of the cars was rear-ended at a red light. If you happen to be in Tokyo from December 3rd-11th, be sure to check out Toyota's latest.

[via Slashdot]