A dog in Auckland, New Zealand drove a car by itself on Monday, Dec. 10 in what its trainer said is a world first.
The dog named Monte is one of three dogs that were trained by animal trainer Mark Vette to drive cars. Monte, who was rescued from the SPCA animal shelter in south Auckland, underwent two months of intensive training to learn how to coordinate the movements required to control a car. After beginning his training using mock car controls, he then graduated to a real car where he spent hours practicing his driving skills, accompanied by a human instructor.
However, on Monday, it was time for Monte to drive the car on his own, which was broadcast live on New Zealand television.
"So, it's a world first, then we're going to go 230 feet down this track, and he's going to put it in gear himself, accelerate off and do the whole lot himself," said Vette.
Monte seemed at ease controlling the Mini car that featured controls modified for a dog to reach. The speed of the car was also limited for safety reasons.
"So, basically, now he's got his foot on the accelerator, his right foot on the accelerator. He's steering with his left hand. His left paw is on the steering wheel, and basically, in this position he's in the driving mode," said Vette, as he watched his canine student slowly moving the car along an Auckland racetrack.
Vette said that Monte enjoys driving the car, and understands exactly what is happening.