A Japanese company has created a creepily anthropomorphic, Linux-powered 1/10-scale robot car capable of piloting itself with the use of cameras and sensors to test autonomous algorithms without trashing real cars. It's called RoboCar Z.
Because these aren't meant for your average R/C hobbyist, the starting price is over $6,000 for the base model and $15,000 for the full model equipped with an exterior. It may seem like a lot of change for a robotic car, but you get a pre-configured vehicle equipped with CCD stereo cameras, an image recognition module, WiFi, a gyro sensor, acceleration sensors, and a host of other equipment.
ZMP, the company behind the model, plans to sell 200 of these vehicles and claims to already have 100 orders for the creepy/friendly robots. We'd normally complain about this being the beginning of the end of human driving as we know it, but we think cell phones with QWERTY keyboards have already done enough to take human beings out of the driving experience. [Nikkei]