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Mitsubishi Electric to use missile technology for self-driving cars

When you want to catch up to the competition in a hurry, a missile is probably the best way to do it.

Mitsubishi Electric

You'd be surprised how hard it is to find a picture for a story involving tech that doesn't necessarily exist yet.

Weng lei/Imaginechina/Corbis

Technology comes from strange places sometimes. That's certainly the case with Mitsubishi Electric's self-driving tech, most of which originated from the company's air-to-air missiles, which it supplies to Japan's military.

Bloomberg reports that Mitsubishi Electric (not the same entity as Mitsubishi the automaker -- ask me how I know) is repurposing some of its weapon tech to help bolster its autonomous-driving portfolio. Some of these parts include radar and sonar transmitters, sensors and cameras.

Katsumi Adachi, a Mitsubishi Electric engineer, told Bloomberg that the company hopes to get this tech in cars and on roads by 2020, a goal similar to that of the competition. "All we have to do is to put together the components that we already have," he told the outlet. "None of our competitors have such a wide array of capabilities."

The first tech to come from this will be automatic lane-keeping and braking systems, with production beginning in 2017. Following that will be automatic parking systems, with satellite-based location services coming after that.