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Filed under: Government/Legal, Technology

New Technology Aims To Take Your Hands Off The Steering Wheel



The biggest hurdles to autonomous cars will be legal, not technical.

Most car enthusiasts hate the idea of cars that can drive themselves. But autonomous cars will get here faster than most people realize. Slowly but surely, automobiles are doing more of our driving for us. It's only a matter of time before they take over completely.

Just look at how much control we've already ceded to the computers under the hood. Anti-lock brakes, which are consistently better at threshold braking than mere mortals, are pretty much standard equipment. So are traction control and stability control. We now have blind spot detection, lane departure warning, active lane control, and even self-parking.

Now comes the next step. Mercedes-Benz and Audi recently demonstrated Traffic Jam Assist, which uses adaptive cruise control and automatic steering to completely take control of a car up to 60 kilometers an hour (about 37 mph). Google has racked up tens of thousands of miles on its fleet of fully autonomous Toyota Prius hybrids on California roads. The technology will be showroom ready before the end of the decade.

The biggest hurdles will be legal, not technical. For example, who's at fault when one of these cars gets in an accident? And how will the police pull over an autonomous car if they need to? But we'll resolve those issues, and when we do, autonomous cars will have a bigger impact on society than when the first horseless carriages appeared over a century ago.

John McElroy is host of the TV program "Autoline Detroit" and daily web video "Autoline Daily". Every month he brings his unique insights as a Detroit insider to Autoblog readers.
Continue reading How autonomous cars are about to change our future

How autonomous cars are about to change our future originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Mar 2012 16:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



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