French car maker Renault has unveiled driverless technology that allows its cars to swerve away from obstacles without input from the driver.

According to Renault, the system is as capable of avoiding an accident as a skilled human driver, and perhaps strangely, the system is said to be ‘inspired by professional test drivers’.

Renault also claims that the feature is the first in the industry to be capable of matching a human driver’s performance in ‘challenging driving scenarios’.

While that statement may be called into question by manufacturers of other semi-autonomous systems, such as tech firm Tesla, which offers its much-vaunted Autopilot driver assistant, Renault says that this is an important step on its own road towards building fully driverless vehicles.

The French brand’s Drive the Future plan has laid down a target of producing as many as 15 models with some form of autonomy by 2022.

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Although the new system by no means constitutes a fully autonomous car, it may soon become a commercially available driver assistance system, complementing features such as lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.

Renault’s Silicon Valley Open Innovation Lab developed the system, and has demonstrated the as-yet-unnamed feature on a Zoe electric car affectionately known as ‘Callie’.

Footage released by the French company on YouTube shows the car swerving to avoid cones and barriers without any driver input.

‘At Groupe Renault, we are focused on being an innovation leader in products, technology and design,’ said Simon Hougard, director of the Renault Open Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley. ‘Our innovation efforts aim to develop advanced autonomous driving technologies that consumers can trust will create a safer, more comfortable journey.’