Look, no hands! The driverless future of driving is here
The driverless car 'Made in Germany' (MIG), being put through its paces at Berlin's Tempelhof airport, October 13, 2010.
February 22nd, 2012
07:27 AM ET

Look, no hands! The driverless future of driving is here

By Doug Gross, CNN

Will there be a time in our lives when cars don’t crash? When a Mustang can warn a BMW that it’s changing lanes – or when we can just sit back and relax and our cars will drive themselves?

Auto technology experts say “yes." And they say that some of those advances may happen quicker than you might think.

“We are seeing just seismic changes as we speak,” said Scott Belcher, president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

Founded in 1991 as an advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Transportation, ITSA is now an independent non-profit that advocates for technology that will improve the safety and efficiency of cars and trucks.

On Tuesday, Consumer Reports announced that it now supports vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology – systems that essentially let cars talk to each other, helping avoid accidents in the process.

In the wake of the announcement, we chatted with Belcher about that and other tech that could be changing the way we drive (presumably for the better) in the next few years.

On vehicle-to-vehicle technology

"That's going to be our next major safety advance - on par with airbags or safety belts,” Belcher said.

Belcher said studies suggest that as many as 81 percent of “non-impaired” crashes could be avoided through vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which uses a dedicated part of the radio spectrum that’s been set aside by the federal government.

“That’s pretty huge,” he said. “That’s a big, big number.”

His group plans a pilot program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in which 3,000 cars will be equipped with the tech. Results will help highway-safety officials to decide whether to require the system in the future.

On cars that drive themselves

At first glance it seems like the stuff of science fiction. But Belcher said fully automated cars could be close at hand. In fact, he said, what might ultimately keep them off the road could be us.

“The question is going to be not whether we can do autonomous vehicles, but how much autonomy we are willing to put up with as a culture. We don’t really like to give up control of our vehicles," he said.

“But if you look at where we are today – the adaptive cruise control is semi-autonomous. Cars that park themselves – that’s autonomous. You’ve got buses that operate in rapid transit systems that, for the most part, are autonomous.”

He noted that Google has logged more than 200,000 miles with a driverless car in Nevada (where lawmakers are considering legislation to allow automated driving) and a challenge by the U.S. military’s DARPA in which contestants successfully piloted automated cars in an urban setting.

“It’s out there. But how quickly and how much we see it is really going to be dictated by society, not technology,” he said. “It’s going to be the liability issues, the control issues that are going to prevent it.

Volvo has a system that scans for pedestrians moving into the path of the vehicle and can even apply the brakes  to avoid hitting someone.

Society’s technology ‘tipping point’

Part of the reason car tech is moving so quickly, Belcher said, is that the public is demanding it and car manufacturers know they have to meet that demand or lose out to another company that does.

“We’ve become a society that has become dependent on our phones and dependent on our access to technology and our access to communication networks,” he said. “The car is just becoming an extension of that. We can’t imagine we’re going to lose that connectivity as soon as we get in the car.”

“We’re at this tipping point in society right now and it’s going to be fascinating to watch it play out. The cat’s out of the bag, so to speak.”

Automated cars, for example, could become a reality because of pressure from both ends of the driving spectrum.

For the oldest drivers, automation could become a way to keep driving longer, Belcher said. And for the youngest, car tech that lets them stay engaged with their other gadgets may eventually have more appeal than, say, stomping on the pedal of a 1970 Dodge Charger.

“They could care less about that,” he said. “They just want to play with their phone.”

The spread of existing, high-end tech

It’s a constant in the tech world. Be it DVD players or smartphones or 3D televisions, the early adopters are going to pay a premium to say they were first. But as production ramps up and becomes more efficient, the price drops.

In the car world, that could mean more of us will see high-tech safety features that only come equipped on the fanciest cars right now.

Belcher specifically mentioned rear-view cameras, which activate an in-dash screen when the driver is backing up, showing objects that may be hard to see normally.

Also in line to make the trip from high-end luxury to standard feature? "Adaptive” cruise control that will automatically shift speed when you get too close to another car, and vehicles that automatically send you signals when someone is in your blind spot or if you stray from your lane.

Automakers also are testing augmented-reality windshields, controlled by hand gestures from the front seat, that would display real-time info about passing landmarks.

What does it all mean?

“If we can make cars that don’t crash, then think about what that does to the cars we can build,” Belcher said. “Right now, what we build is cars that help you survive when you crash. But if you don’t crash, do we really need to two tons of metal? Can you use other materials?”

One possibility? The “weird, tiny” cars of the future.

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Filed under: Future • Innovation • Science • Tech
soundoff (659 Responses)
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  11. Alberto Zayas

    The future of automated/autonomous personal transportation and freight delivery is not a car that drives itself!

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  14. Raul

    The last honest study / aalsynis I saw showed the electric car saved about 15% energy on average. Of course the electric car had shorter range and charging down time. It does depend on where the electric energy comes form. Some power plants operate in the 25-30% efficiency range, but some combined cycle gas turbine plants can run up into the 50%-60% ranges.

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  17. Haden

    Driverless driving sounds fantastic, but if the car is still on wheels and still runs on gas, is that really the best you can do? Show me a flying driverless car that's practically photosynthetic and then I'll be amazed.

    April 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
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      You're thinking of the IROC (International Race of Champions) Series which is no logner run (the series ran from 1974 until 2006). They did not have any special paint job. They were solid colors with black numbers. They were evenly prepared cars so no driver would have an advantage.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
  19. Raffy

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    March 18, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
  21. allenwoll

    Driverless ? : Hardly - It is just a question of WHO or WHAT is doing the driving !

    Skeptics need to get over it - They are wasting their time pushing against the inevitable ! !

    Driving is NOT a difficult task - The problem with it for humans is that they are prone to distraction and to outbursts of emotion. . Machines do not have such problems !

    March 2, 2012 at 9:49 am | Reply
    • Simran

      Toss up between #8 and #18, but I would have to go with ehetir #12 or #21 and then sell it to get both of the others with money to burn on more things. I am a fan of tuners HUGE fan. though I can appreciate muscle cars, and would pick a Gallardo, or Bugatti Veyron Super Sport over any of these!!

      March 18, 2012 at 1:05 am | Reply
  22. Jake Rockwel

    Look! Puffy shirt! Is that DEVO? We now have cars that can drive themselves.Yaaay..I like driving. . Still cant cure cancer.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:31 am | Reply
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  23. Thinker

    I believe he means "they couldn't care less" because "Could care less" does not mean anything!

    March 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  24. David York

    We won't be driving anywhere. We're running out of fuel. Show me the latest innovation in bicycles and walking shoes...

    February 28, 2012 at 8:41 am | Reply
  25. Syed

    That is a good idea, but i find it more fun when you have control over the driving instead of the driving being automated.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  26. Greg

    I would love to be able to ride in a car that can drive itself so I can do something else while traveling – like sleep, eat, watch a movie, work/play on my computer, etc. I would want the automated system to have different levels of how fast one wants to go, though (ie: 55mph up to 80+mph, as is reasonably safe). Consider also that intelligent, networked cars could do things like automatically select routes know what the current traffic/driving conditions are. I can do this as a driver, but it would be nice to just tell my car 'get me from point A to B as fast as possible'. Also, consider if one is flying to a vacation destination but still wants the use of one's car. Just tell your car to meet you there. Of course it will take the car longer than the person to arrive (thats the point of flying) – but it would be another sweet perk of this technology. Sign me up for one of these cars!

    February 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  27. Robert

    Well, as long as these new cars can adapt to the old "dumb" cars they will be sharing the road with, I see no problems with this. I'm an avid classic car entusiast, and I'd hate to see a 1965 Mustang reduced to a useless lawn ornament because its not on the "network."

    And I do like the idea of being able to send a car ahead without me there. I'd love to have a car that can take itself to the mechanic without me having to take off work, or pick me up without having to bother a friend. When moving I could load two cars up with stuff, and not have to find a second driver.

    However, I love driving, and I'd want the system to have an "off" switch. For those occasions when I want to have a little fun rowing through the gears myself.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  28. WC

    It's "couldn't care less," Mr. Belcher.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  29. Erik

    How do you devise a system that needs to freely accept information on the status of other vehicles in its vicinity that is not susceptible to some misguided hacker creating a box that fools cars/drivers into thinking others are slamming on their brakes, making sudden lane changes requiring evasive action, etc.; thereby actually causing accidents, tying up traffic, or at lleast greatly unsettling others on the road, etc.? Having my computer crash or operate erratically due to a virus is a big hassle, but nothing compared to what bad actors could potentially do with this technology.

    February 27, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
  30. ConcordantMind

    Sounds good to me, I'm tired of us crashing into eachother. Of course, one major accident will kill this technology. I'd like to see the IT department get away with "Known Issues" on this one lol

    February 27, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
  31. Thomas

    This is great! Style will be independent, yet the technology the same. Get in if old, drunk, etc. A personal driver at your service.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:03 am | Reply
  32. David

    This is the beginning of a technology that will revolutionize our civilization. There will be the luddites and isolated incidents that cause a slow adaption of self driving cars and trucks at first, but within 20 years we'll see lanes dedicated to them, where speed limits are much higher. People will be able to live further from their work because they can literally sleep as their electric/hydrogen car drives them home, at well over our current day speed limits.
    Eventually (probably 40-50 years from now) we won't have traffic lights anymore.
    I'm sure most people over the age of 30 will be fearful of this technology, but kids now grow up with iGadgets in their hands from just about infancy, and won't see the romance of holding on to the steering wheel to go pick up groceries.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:48 am | Reply
    • WC

      Over 30? Really? I'm over 30 and know how to use an iPhone. Amazing!

      February 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  33. gregory

    Amazing how much negativity there is in the world. I see lots of comments equating self-drive cars to something like the flying cars from popular mechanics a few decades back. Never gonna happen, you can have my car when you pry my keys from my cold dead fingers – blah blah blah.

    This is not pipe dream stuff – it's here right now. And one thing I know for certain – there is no way that a computer could suck at driving the way humans do. It could only be an improvement.

    February 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Reply
    • Brian Scanlon

      I think people agree that most people suck at driving, but they are not among the most people. The only way this is going to come to pass is through an evolution (it may be a slow one, we can't junk all of the manual drive cars all at once) Automatic cars will have to co-exist with manual ones, and I think they will start as ones where the is a choice of how much automation can be selected by the driver. At first many will want to be in control, but with time they may put it into auto mode more and more.

      February 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
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    • Jefferson

      these people have blrleaey any taste they need real car enthusiahsts to run this show i mean come on they put the mini roadster in the top 5 and the mini coupe in the worst 5 come on how a car drives is more important thn how it looks and how could they put the porsche panamera in the worst 5 come on respect for porsche the porsche panamera performs like a supercar in some ways and look how heavy it is and the porsche panamera has really high build qaulity poor judgeing

      March 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
      • Dritan

        ask yourself a simlpe question . Why are they spending huge amounts of money on electric cars and new types of batteries ? Because we are running out of the cheap, easily sourced petroleum products.Electricity is way cheaper to recharge a battery than to fill a gas tank, Fact!

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  34. Stupid idea

    No way I'm sitting in a car that drives itself and is controlled by some computer. Where's the fun in that? Completely lame idea. I can see using this as an option for people that have DWI's or something like that but I'll never buy a car that drives itself.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      Great IDEA
      With the aging population and congested cities this will take off like wild fire – if it's not too expensive. In most large cities it costs like $30 to park. Imagine, having your car drop you off and then you call it to pick you up. Oh yeah, before you pick me up please go to my favorite drive-thru and pick me up dinner.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • Neutral_observer

      Since when is "fun" so important? Your comment is a sign of decadence, where "being entertained" and "having fun" is more important than safety, prosperity and improved quality of life in growing city-regions. If you want "fun", go to Disneyland. I want to get to work in one piece and not have to stress out with staying alive every day on So Cal freeways. BTW I own a 60's muscle car so I know "fun"; I just don't equate that to LIVING.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:11 am | Reply
      • nunya

        @Neutral_observer

        Human ntelligence has 1 purpose: To provide for the decadence of man. Bacteria survive just fine. "Dumb" animals do too... We're Intelligent. The point of living is to be a bit decadent. Otherwise you might as well be an amoeba... As for safety, that is NOT the primary purpose of our transportation system – transportation is. As such, there is "acceptable risk" in piloting a machine going tens of times faster than your human body can, which contains toxic chemicals (ethylene glycol), and EXPLODES gasoline not 4 feet in front of you! .... It's not a safe machine. It's a transportation machine. Safety isn't the point – it's an afterthought.

        February 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • WC

      No one is forcing you to do this, genius. Keep driving, that's your right. But this would be a HUGE help for the elderly, for drunk people, etc.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  35. Lutu

    Now we do not have to own a car. We call up a car when we need to go somewhere. Besides, if these cars are electric, they can go charge themselves at central locations and come back. I wish these cars will belicensed immediately!

    February 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • Sartre

      Cars being driven by computers rather than humans is not a good idea because then you are relying on the human-written programs, which are easily prone to coding errors, to be flawless and that will never be a reality so long as humans write the programs. Thus I would fear for my life because the moment an accelerator application gets caught in an infinite loop, adios to all those within its present course!

      February 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
      • gregory

        You are so right my friend. Humans are idiots and prone to mistakes and errors. You don't trust them to write program code... but you trust them to get blind drunk and then get behind the wheel of a car? You would rather go out on a highway filled with people who are putting there attention on everything EXCEPT driving the car rather than a computer that is devoting more attention to the task than you ever could?

        I would write more but it's really hard to type and swerve around all these terrible drivers at the same time. Gotta go.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
      • Zeke2112

        Hope you never have to have a medical procedure. Diagnostic imaging systems, interventional therapy systems, and even heart bypass machines (which I design) are loaded with computer firmware. The FDA monitors our validation efforts very closely, and there would be similar validation requires with this technology as well.

        Sadly, no such validation is required for the wetware currently behind the wheel. THERE is your problem.

        February 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  36. Seth H

    One of the researchers behind Google's self driving car, Sebastian Thrun, has a free on-line class for everybody to learn the technology that makes it work. http://www.udacity.com

    February 25, 2012 at 11:11 am | Reply
  37. Canadian Jack

    Computers have no emotions. They cannot fall asleep at the wheel. They cannot go on a joy ride. They can sense speed, stopping range and think of a hundreds of ways to avoid an accident in a nano second. The only pleasure I get on the road is when I am the only one there. No once can hurt me and I cannot hurt anyone else.

    February 25, 2012 at 7:25 am | Reply
  38. Kurt

    Finally, the automobile will stand up to its name.

    February 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  39. Bruno

    Will a driver's license become a thing of the past?

    February 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
    • markishere

      Probably not, the local gov't will find another way to screw you with some extraneous monthly & annual fee

      February 27, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply
      • Luckman

        Come on! Does the city have any idea what it's doing, or is it like me when I'm planting a fleowr bed just put a shovel in the ground and hopefully something will turn out?The whole point of opening up K to cars again was to drive business to the store fronts, but the only reason why the store fronts would get business is because people can drive up and park directly in front of the store! Are people supposed to just drive by and see there's a store and then go searching for a parking space that's still a block and a half away? I don't see the Apple Store and Banana Republic flocking to the blight-infested K-street any time soon considering that, despite the construction, K street is STILL not car-friendly. Maybe working on ousting the slum lord that controls all of the retails space in that God-forsaken area would be the first step in making the street attractive again?

        July 19, 2012 at 7:50 am |
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  40. kevin

    My son will be born next month and there's a good chance he will never learn to drive – much like most of us have never learned to ride a horse. I think driverless cars in 2027 will be feasible because they'll only involve cameras, communication chips, processors, radars / lidars which won't cost much – my technology package on my car was $2100, half the price of my NAV system.

    Think of the implications of driverless cars though. Delivery vehicles and long haul tractor trailers that roam the streets and highways with maybe only a human babysitter on board. "Car sharing" that replaces taxis because the car can drive itself to pick up the next renter. Farm vehicles that drive themselves and at night making harvesting easier. The good thing is no more of those 100+ car pileups in reduced visibility.

    A big obstacle is liability. My Volvo XC60 has adaptive cruise, pedestrian detection with auto braking, low-speed collision avoidance with full braking, lane detection, etc. The owner's manual is full of disclaimers for basically every safety feature to say the driver is always in control. For the time being a car that drives itself will have to record everything around it to prevent lawsuits and prove its innocence in a crash.

    February 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • Billy Sims

      No way. Your son will be required to know how to drive. Automation will never be fully trusted without backup.

      February 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
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    • Old McDonald

      Tractors already drive themselves down rows on the farm with GPS. The human simply turns them around at the end of the row and lines up where the GPS tells them to and lets them start driving again.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:04 am | Reply
    • tom

      These driverless cars, like so many hi tech ideas, will never happen due to simple economics. Just because something is possible technically, does not mean it ever gets realized. There has to be profit involved. I am an electrical engineer and I know this very well. People would have to be willing to pay more for these cars (and they won't) and people would have to be willing to pay higher taxes to upgrade the roads to support this technology (and they won't). Sorry to burst everyone's bubble. Its fun to think about this stuff, but it won't happen. I laugh when I see pictures from the 1960's of what a typical home in the year 2000 was supposed to look like. Do we have all that technology? Pretty much yes. Are homes built that way with robots and autonomous machines doing all your chores? No. Its cost.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply
      • Peter

        Actually driverless cars will happen because of economics for several reasons. Using just cruise control an a car today dramatically reduces fuel consumption. A driverless car effectively runs on cruise control all the time. When enough driverless cars are around highways (a few initially, increasing gradually) can be restricted to such cars only. At that point these vehicles can travel safely at much higher speeds and with much higher saturation (i.e., minimal distances between cars). This results in further economies, for example fewer road lanes to build, etc.

        February 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
      • theRobotsWin

        Tom
        To be an electrical engineer, your very short sighted. Over 30,000 Amercians die on our highways each year. This technology has been estimated to reduce that number by 85 to 90%. This aspect alone with outweigh all others and it will happen. The DOT will see to that.

        February 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • Jonathan

        I think a lot of companies will line up to send advertisements to the car based on it's location. Imagine being on a road trip and getting messages in your car that there's a McD's only 2 miles away or getting a list of hotels and their rates so you can pull off and sleep for the night. There are endless possibilities to make money off this technology.

        February 27, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  41. Sharon

    I would love a driverless car. One of the main applications I can see myself using it for, is that often after work my husband and I will meet somewhere for dinner, then go somewhere else and then somewhere else. It sucks having to take separate cars to all those places, and seems like a waste of gas. It would be awesome if we could meet at the restaraunt, tell one car to go home, and then take the other car wherever we're going after that.

    February 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  42. indepence to all

    This will give independence to many who today cannot get from point a to point B. Example is high functioning people who have ADHD. Many of these people cannot drive and have limited employment opportunities. This opens the doors to them as they could have someone program their vehicles for them, carry on a decent job.

    February 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  43. Dan Bednarik

    This will never be deployed, and I will never submit to using it.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      Thats what they said about airplanes. Looks pretty freaking safe to me moron.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • Old McDonald

      You sound old like me.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:05 am | Reply
    • Tom Hartman

      When you travel by air the entire route is programmed in the plane, and the pilots do very little actual flying of the plane anymore. Not that we don't need them..and not that we don't need drivers...but it shows that automation definitely works, and responds faster than human reflexes.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:09 am | Reply
      • Johanna

        Personally, I would get a 2008 Infiniti G35 Journey or the G35x.Infiniti is discounting these to the max right now and it would be my cihcoe over the TSX or the Maxima. The 2 you mentioned are also great cars. It is all about personal preference. Go with the one you like better.

        April 30, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Zeke2112

      It'll be pretty funny when our cars dodge that debris in the road but your slow human reflexes make you crash into it. Cheers!

      February 27, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
  44. richard

    there are clearly times this capability would have value. however what ever happened to wanting to drive yourself.
    images of "wall-e"shapeship passengers come to mind:
    without using it you lose it. how coddled do we really need to be? do we need robotic chauffiiers? will we have
    law suits when the enevitable happens? should we? where does personal responsibility end?

    February 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • Jonathan

      I bet you farm your own food and built your own house, too. There are some things that computers are just better at doing. Humans suck at driving because it is so boring and most people only think of themselves while driving and pay no attention to the others on the road.

      February 27, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
  45. LindaLeona

    look how excited the driver and the passenger look.

    February 24, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
  46. big dowg

    i think its worthless

    February 24, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply
    • Scott

      Yeah totally worthless, just like trains and airplanes – who the hell needs that when you have two feet? whatever

      February 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  47. ElectricLion

    I have a hard time picturing self-drive on suburban streets and back roads any time soon, but I'd love to see self drive soon on the interstate. The interchange of I-26 and I-526 could definitely use a little computer assistance.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
  48. Navin Johnson

    Sorry I hit you, man. My car had a blue screen of death.

    February 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • JamesT

      Should of used an Apple OS

      February 24, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
      • Cerdanyola

        Pre-owned Mercedes Benz cars can be bought with exdented warranties. These certified cars are usually spotless and almost like new. Maybe not cheap to fix but that's where the warranty comes into play.You can search the mbusa web site for cars in your area. There's nothing like a Mercedes!

        March 18, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  49. Billy Sims

    I live in Las Vegas and they're already licensing these types of cars for the road. At first, I was concerned about safety but having driven amongst Las Vegas speeders for several years now, I can't wait for a computer to control the cars of these maniacs! :-)

    February 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  50. cpc65

    "Open the garage bay doors, HAL."

    February 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • RonaldB62

      LOL

      February 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
    • RonaldB62

      Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that!

      February 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • Kazi

      Sacrilege. If you're going to burn booze for fuel, use something ooxonibus, like gin.What's next, someone use bacon for something other than eating?

      August 22, 2012 at 1:47 am | Reply
    • idtnlo

      5ND4Kw nridekuneysi

      August 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  51. Dan W

    And 5 years after 81% of accidents are prevented 81% of auto repair shops go out of business, insurance companies can no longer justify their rates and lay off 81% of their staff to keep their stock going up. Capitalism relies on inefficiency and the short life span of goods, making advances only hurts our economy.

    February 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      So why don't we just start using horse and carriage again? They will certainly need a lot of labor.

      Seriously, I would love to the have the option to go autonomous for example after a long day of work or a night out. It will save lifes.

      Technology does make some jobs unnecessary, but it can also free us to do something more productive, like, for example read a good book instead of cursing at other drivers during rush hour.

      Finally, car shops overcharge WAY to much. I don't mind that my car can get 250k miles without a problem. Back in the 70s you were lucky to get half that.

      February 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • Dan W

        Horses don't require oil, gas, or parts..... we've painted ourselves into a corner... horse and buggy is not autonomous.

        February 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
      • Scott

        HEy Dan W- I would rather maintain a car than a freaking horse. Please

        February 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
      • Mustafa

        I thought the pshrcoe panamera was ugly until I saw a black one parked on the street (a panamera turbo to be specific) and it looks quite stunning to be honest. And that mini cooper coupe has weird proportion (though I do love the regular cooper which I currently own and it is a blast to drive). The Volt is simply a joke in my opinion. How is that better than a hybrid?

        March 18, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • Endri

        I wanted to visit and let you know how great I earrsuetd discovering your blog today. We would consider it a honor to operate at my office and be able to utilize tips discussed on your web-site and also participate in visitors' reviews like this. Should a position associated with guest author become offered at your end, make sure you let me know. 0Was this answer helpful?

        March 20, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Chris

      Oh, I should also say that making advances has negative side effects. For example, giving some folks an outlet to voice silly comments over a "Series of Tubes" aka the internet :P

      February 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Andy Mallon

      If it saves lives, including mine and those I love, are you saying someone else's job is more important? Technology both creates and eliminates jobs... but I believe it creates far more...

      February 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Reply
      • Dan W

        I'm just saying in 5 years and no one can figure out why all these garages are going out of business.... this is why. I want this tech asap, who cares about the economy? Though it's highly unlikely that the jobs that are created from future tech will be in America.

        February 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • slotzky

      Those jobs lost due to elimination of human driving can GO TO THE DEVIL. Adapt or die; ask any dinosaur. Those who want to drive for sport can do so at some theme park. I, for one, welcome the day when I don't have to worry about some drunken middle-aged loser or some stoned teenager behind the wheel of a death machine. Besides, the youth coming up today won't part with their insipid little gadgets. Might as well give up, stop thinking,and become one with the network. Let the cars do the thinking for us. Pretty soon, we'll have lots of free time to contemplate our own obsolescence. Maybe then we'll evolve again. Or not. Who cares.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:10 am | Reply
      • Elliphant

        The dinosaurs didn't "fail to adapt", slotzky; they were wiped out by a cataclysm. You know, kinda like EMP...

        March 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Scott

      Exactly! Thats why we don't have a cure for cancer or AIDS, they make too much money!

      February 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • todds

      Usually when we get advancements, it does eliminate jobs in one sector while creating jobs in another. Think about how many jobs are around today that did not exist 30 years ago.

      Businesses used to be filled with people in typing pools now they are filled with IT people.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • WC

      You don't think that's already happened? Why is the post office losing so much money? Why are so many IT jobs going to India? We're moving forward regardless of the economy. While lobbyists try and protect their jobs as long as they can, the bottom line dictates the future.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  52. jimbo

    The sooner we remove control from the squishy things behind the wheels of vehicles the better. Every person thinks he/she is some great driver. The reality is we are all a bunch of scatter brained, selfish buffoons who are prone to terrible decision making. At the very minimum all interstates should be automated.

    February 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • slotzky

      Let's have a drink, jimbo.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:11 am | Reply
    • good one Jimbo and...

      That squishy thing is called "The Steering Nut"; it connects the steering wheel to the seat.

      February 27, 2012 at 5:13 am | Reply
  53. Hope

    Idk

    February 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  54. engineer long time

    Can we get remote controls for demolition derbies or can we get the cars to crash into each other on their own?

    February 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  55. Myto Senseworth

    Don't worry..some other geeks know about a thing called EMP. I still own cars that could survive it. I'll just wave as i DRIVE by.

    February 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • David

      EMP? No, you won't be driving either, unless your car was made in the 1970's or earlier. All vehicles built in the last several decades have a computer inside them that governs the engine's operation, among other things. No computer, no engine.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:54 am | Reply
      • Elliphant

        Actually, you might have to go back to the 60's; my '74 Plymouth had electronic ignition.

        March 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
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