SCOTTISH scientists have taken pole position in the race to build the world's first self-driving smart car.

Academics at Stirling University will unveil a pioneering computer program me that can handle a degree of decision-making that reflects the human brain.

Professor Amir Hussain, chairman of the upcoming robotics conference and head of the Stirling project, said: "We now understand more about how humans make decisions in complex situations."

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The researchers claim their prototype will have the ability to change lanes, control speed, apply braking and reverse park. They hope to create a fully automated, driverless car in the years ahead.

Dr Erfu Yang, from the university's computing science and mathematics department, said: "We will describe the next-generation smart car, capable of performing a range of manoeuvres, independent of human control."

Other innovations to be unveiled at the conference will be a robot capable of expressing curiosity.

The International Workshop on Autonomous Cognitive Robotics will be held this week at Stirling University.