Once upon a time in the ‘90s, cars like the Porsche Boxster were the cornerstone of new and exciting car makes. While the Boxster is still a fantastic buy, it appears the future of vehicles may steer in a completely different direction…
We’ve seen the small cars. We’ve seen the sports cars. We’ve seen the solar powered cars. But we haven’t seen it all, it seems: Google’s latest experiment is to delve into the realm of autonomous cars, or cars that drive themselves.
Equipped with a video camera mounted on the roof, radar sensors, and a laser range to help judge traffic and road conditions, Google’s modified, driverless Toyota Prius has already been granted a driving licence in Nevada – and it’s clocked over 300,000 miles (around half a million kilometres) so far with absolutely no recorded crashes. Google has also added a Lexus RX450h to its project to test autonomous driving through difficult terrains.
And other companies are following suit: BMW’s autonomous driving technology, the ConnectedDrive Connect (CDC), allows cars to overtake slower cars independently, without the need of any driver input. Cadillac is on track to deliver a semiautonomous cruise control system called the Super Cruise by 2015, and Mercedes-Benz’s 2013 S-Class will debut their own autonomous driving feature, which will allow a driver to let go of the controls during heavy traffic conditions.
So is it really possible?
According to Ford, the autonomous car isn’t far off now – by their guess, cars will be driving themselves by 2017. There are a few issues that need to be solved before self-driving cars become a reality, though. While autonomous technology works fine on standard roads, snow-covered roads or tricky terrains still remain as problems that need to be solved.
The developments are still promising though. Just think: in under a decade’s time, your children could be driven to school by a vehicle while you’re on your merry way to work!
Would you buy an autonomous car if it were available right now?