Will a Self-Driving Car be a Reality Any Time Soon?

on Thursday, 18 April 2013. Posted in News

And will they be any safer?

Google CarLooking forward to jumping into your self-driving car, pulling out your iPad, having lunch or watching a movie as you travel to your destination? Does this sound crazy? No, but it’s going to take time, research and a lot of money to get it done.

Despite Google's impressive fleet of driver-less cars and interest from Audi, GM, Toyota and others, self-driving cars won't come anytime soon. Experts at the 2013 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress said this week that the mass market won't get them until 2025, the Detroit News reports.

SAE, whose standards influence everything from cargo specs to horsepower, invited panelists from automakers, suppliers, universities and more to its annual conference in Detroit. So-called "semiautonomous" technology, which fuses collision-detection and steering technologies to keep you in your lane and far enough from the car ahead, will hit the market much sooner, experts said. The potential for driver distraction spawned debate and here at Anderson Behel we're also interested in this topic. After all, a self-driving car would seem to only encourage more texting — or sleeping or reading. If you had to remain as alert behind the wheel as if you were driving, the benefits would diminish. Such systems offer high safety potential, given most accidents result from human error, but should any malfunction cause an accident, one expert said it would turn the discussion on its head.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in October it would launch a $1.75 million multiyear research project to determine the human controls necessary in driverless cars. So, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Driver-less cars will exist one day and I don’t doubt it. But, I’m guessing it won’t be a reality until 2030 or even later. Stay tuned and in the meantime, drive safely. The Anderson Behel blog will keep you informed!

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