Turkey seeks to catch up with the driverless car trend as an Istanbul-based Austrian company announced that they would start test driving a concept car by 2020 in Istanbul.
Designed by Turkish engineers, the car, whose prototype is yet to be unveiled, is a product of AVL, a company known for research and development work in the auto sector.
The company picked up 15 engineers among 1,500 to work on the project. Its Turkey manager Umut Genç says they would first introduce a hybrid car built by Turkish engineers next year and will start tests for a driverless car in 2020. It will basically be a modified version of a non-self-driving car which will be entirely fitted with sensors, software and other components developed by AVL engineers. "We used to test technologies we developed here abroad as our customers are in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Austria. This time, we decided to test it in Istanbul so that self-driving car technology can be adapted better to the city and we can now develop software on our own for more compatibility of such technologies with Turkey's roads. Last year, Turkey launched a project to build a homegrown car as part of the government's efforts to make the country's production lines "domestic and national" rather than depending on imports.
Though self-driving cars are yet to become popular, the concept is gaining pace with more companies unveiling their own driverless models after extensive tests in cities across the globe.
Istanbul, however, might pose a challenge for such a test due to heavy traffic that at times, force motorists to spend hours to travel short distances. Reckless driving, which is the main cause of accidents across the country killing thousands of people every year, is another safety concern for a self-driving car.
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