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."

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.