This self-driving car relies on spinning lasers to navigate down rural roads

“This is actually quite similar to how humans drive,” Ort points out. People might have an ultimate destination in mind, but when actually maneuvering the car on the road, they’re likely just looking ahead and driving towards an ever-changing point they can see in front of them.

Ultimately, he sees the tech as one way to “bring the autonomous vehicles out of the city.”

That’s a philosophy that Christoph Mertz, a principal project scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, agrees with. Rural areas can be “neglected,” he says. “If these autonomous vehicles don’t drive in rural areas, then the elderly there might be stuck in their houses because nobody can drive them.”