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How Nissan Will Roll Out Self-Driving Cars: Fricking Lasers

It was an improbably futuristic scene: A man standing on a sunbaked tarmac in Irvine, Calif., next to a Nissan Leaf electric car, pushed a button on the hatchback’s key fob. The Leaf, unassisted by human intervention or preprogrammed maps, crawled at about five miles per hour through rows of parked vehicles, detected an SUV pulling out of a space, paused, and allowed the SUV to pull away. Then it moved past the now-vacated parking spot, slowed into position, glided back into the space, and powered down.

A moment later, the man pushed the button again, and the Leaf fetched itself, reversing its previous steps, and returned to the man’s side.

This isn’t science fiction. I watched this all myself, dumbfounded, just a little over a week ago.

Was this self-parking demonstration a bit of razzle-dazzle that will never make it into the vehicles in dealer lots? Maybe not.
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