Imagine the scene: You’re driving your car to an office building in New York City, five minutes from a job interview. No worries. You have already dialed into the car’s memory the parking garage where it’s going to stay, and prepaid the bill. You shut the door. And off it goes. Driverless. And the chances of the car getting into an accident while it travels five or six treacherous city blocks are less than if the hopeful job applicant had tried to park it himself under time pressure.
Does it sound too good to be true? A sign of the end of civilization as we know it? Too far into the future to care? It depends on whom you ask. But some researchers, engineers, and auto companies believe that such automation is not only on the way to becoming commonplace in the next 20 years, but essential to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles from the U.S. to China and everywhere else. Oh, and as the technology necessary to achieve the “autonomous” car arrives in stages every few years — some of it is already here, in options such as electronic stability control and blind-spot detection — it promises to sharply reduce traffic fatalities.
There are already lots of ‘digital assistents’ in the cars already manufactured today or in the near future. The article names a few…
- Electronic stability control
- Adaptive cruise control
- Blind-spot detection
- Lane-departure warning
- Collision mitigation
Over the coming years. we will see more and more technology sneak into our cars. And the technology will become more capable. Slowly but surely, cars will go from assisting us to taking over control of the car.
There are many benefits to this. I’m looking forward to it, although I do not expect truly autonomous cars sooner than 10 years from now.