Self-Driving Cars May Be En Route
Report pegs 2019 launch date for automated rides.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: August 15th, 2012
he self-driving car is getting closer to becoming a reality, at least according to one report. Consulting firm KPMG and the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan are projecting that the first self-driving cars will be in showrooms by 2019, ahead of most experts' prediction of 2025.
Some proponents of automated driving would rather see a system in place that helps drivers as opposed to replacing them completely.
The advancement of systems like adaptive cruise control is paving the way for the self-driving car. Concept cars that drove themselves have been around since the 1950s, but only now has the technology reached a level where mass production may soon be feasible.
Convenience isn't the only goal when it comes to self-driving cars. Proponents want to eliminate accidents altogether by taking the steering wheel out of human hands.
Predictably, there's likely to be some resistance from those who love to drive, as well as folks who don't trust computers to do the job safely. Long-haul truckers might also object over potential job losses. That's why some proponents of automated driving would rather see a system in place that helps drivers as opposed to replacing them completely.
Of course, those debates are on hold until the technology costs come down further, and until the proper infrastructure is in place. There are plenty of legal issues to be worked out, as well.
Still, Cadillac is testing its "Super Cruise" feature, which could make the car fully autonomous in certain highway situations, with hopes of production somewhere in the middle of this decade. And most of the major automakers are working on some type of self-driving system.
One of Google's self-driving cars was involved in a fender-bender while under human control, and so far none have been in an accident while driving autonomously. The future may already be here.
[Source: Chicago Tribune/Reuters]