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 (660 Responses)
  1. Shockwave

    Imagine a world where NO drunk drivers can hurt anyone... drunks just get in the back seat and tell the car where to drive, and it drives him there. Imagine a world where wrecks never happen anymore. Imagine a world where you can get off work, tell the car to drive to your vacation spot, and sleep while it takes you and the family there. Imagine not having to raise taxes to pay for bigger freeways because smart cars can drive closer than any human dares.

    If the price of this is losing the rare thrill of stomping the gas pedal, I'll be happy to give that up. I can always rent a Vette for an hour at the race track and get it there.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  2. JSC

    Obviously you need the ability to override the controls. What if you're in an emergency situation, or you're just in a bit of a hurry? What percentage of drivers would always surrender to the controls? If not 100%, then you're fooling yourself if you think you won't ever have an accident.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  3. Gary

    Flying cars are here!

    Oh wait...I guess not.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  4. Doug Lee

    What if I want to make a stop on the way to my destination and the car won't stop?

    February 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • g

      it's still your car... it's not going to kidnap you. but probably won't let you double park for the latte either

      February 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  5. bear79

    this is a god send! Now I can text and drive and not have to worry about mowing down pedestrians! this is a glorious day!

    February 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  6. Reason & Logic

    I'd rather see us invest in rapid transit and light rail and get as many cars off the road as possible rather than develop ways to keep these fossil fuel dinosaurs on the road.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Sunder

      But how would you force people who still want to use their cars into mass transit? The same fossil fuels will also be consumed at much lower rate if this technology is used. Someday when electricity can be generated from non fossil resources this can be a much efficient way to solve problems. Most of the energy produced from the car today goes away waiting in traffic jams and racing to catch up the other guy with a better car.... all said and done I can ride my motorbike without being over cautious of some lunatic car driver.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • Shockwave

      Cars can trail closely and get better efficiency than even the best train can. The racers call it drafting.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Ted Ward

      Good luck holding on to all your grocery store bags while standing for a half an hour with one hand gripping an overhead grab bar and the other hand going blue and numb holding several bags of groceries, tp, detergent, etc. And don't forget the quarter mile walk home from the light rail station.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Ted... I did that for 6 years as a student in Europe. Millions do it daily.
      I was fit, had healthy muscles and energy.
      Now, like you, I drive too often and don't walk often enough. I gained 10 pounds and have lost lots of energy.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  7. Jim

    I mourn for the kids of today. There is NOTHING like stomping on the pedal of a 1970 Charger. Well, yea, there was one other thing. I did that in my Charger, too.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • John

      That had to be one of the best responses to a CNN story ever written. The only change I would make is that the car would have to be a '66 goat with a 389 cid and 3 two barrels. Other than that it's perfect!!

      February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Mack

      You'll be able to do that other thing ALL the time now!

      February 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      I think your great great grandfather said "I feel bad for these kids today, there's nothing like getting in the old saddle and galloping away."

      February 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  8. Scott

    Sorry to sound like a luddite, but unless technology advances to allow the same amount of data to be transferred using far less bandwith this will have the same problem of spectrum saturation as cell phones will face. Dropping a call or lagging your video are only annoying on a cell phone, but not acceptable for safe operation of moving vehicles.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Brett

      Google is way ahead of you.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  9. AreYouSerious?

    This is a recipe for disaster. Take care-free people who wouldn't mind giving up driving, mix in those people who refuse to give up driving and shake. Society would essentially have to double the number of roads to accomodate both. And what about Amish people? Do you really think they'll embrace the idea of a horse-less buggy? Aside from that, all the oil is going to run out before this ever becomes a reality so, the whole idea is moot.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • joe08

      Are you serious?

      February 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  10. Jerry

    Here's my brain; I don't need it anymore.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  11. Adrian

    Personally I would very much regret the day I could not drive my own car. But fortunately this is not going to happen any time soon. CLoser than we think? Yeah right. I predict there will be no autonomous vehicles on public roads for at least 30-40 years. The liabiliy if something goes wrong is enormous. Now there is no "operator error" anymore. It's always the car's fault...
    Besides even if this technology becomes available, there will be 300 million cars on the road that don't have it yet. It will take decades until those are phased out. Might as well be talking about teleportation.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • Elliphant

      "It will take decades until those are phased out" .... That's what TIME is for.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  12. sh8un

    We won't need those cars that drive themselves, WE WILL NEED BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  13. Jay

    All this technology is now available...just go buy an Infiniti.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  14. Awkward Hands

    What do I do if I don't have a moonroof?

    February 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  15. Dave

    Me: "Car turn left"
    Car: "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you do that"

    February 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • jb

      Or worse: "just a moment, just a moment, there is an error in the AE-35, um, wheel bearing". Great post, funniest thing I've read today.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  16. Steve

    The only thing for sure is that it is going to happen. When is the question. There are a lot of legitimate concerns and they all need to be addressed. Personally I go to the race track to go fast however I can see a day where that will be the only place you will be allowed to drive a car at any speed.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  17. James

    If I wanted a car that drove itself, I'd take the bus. I like to drive, I enjoy driving, I like to be in full control of my vehicle. I can't even stand automatic transmissions, yuck.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • AreYouSerious?

      Yur the kind o' feller has a gun rack. Am ah'right? Newt sed as much. Can't sell sombody a car ain't got a place fer a gun rack. Vote Newt!

      February 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
      • Mike

        Amusing. In an offensive sort of 'didn't understand the topic' way. Seriously. Do you really think everyone who actually enjoys driving is some kind of yokel with a gun rack?

        Sad.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Kam

        @AreyouSerious: You are stupid!!

        February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Adrian

      Exactly. I bet car sales will go way down if this was all you could buy. The feeling of independence goes away. I'd rather take the bus myself. Probably buy me a patch of land and drive around my vintage manual drive car all day :)

      February 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Elliphant

      Seriously? Buses drive themselves?

      March 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  18. old sailor

    The taxpayers bail out the automakers and they can't even make fuel efficient cars that get over 40mpg even though the technology has been there for decades. Instead they keep giving us gas gussling tanks. What a bunch of greedy SOB's.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • James

      My dad had a diesel car in the early 80s that got over 50 mpg and that was 30 years ago. It's the main reason the current crop of hybrids fails to impress me.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
      • ZeroVector

        My old '81 VW Rabbit diesel got 70 mpg after I tweaked the mixture! Take that, Prius!

        February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Yimmy

      I love my tahoe, lifted on 40's, with a gas guzzling small block 400 that puts out 485 hp at the rear wheel. 8 Miles per gallon and a daily driver! I can see far ahead what is going on in traffic!

      February 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
      • jb

        yeah, yeah. this gets inserted into every discussion. Yawn. I love my ...insert hummer or other large vehicle....

        February 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Mike

      At least the auto makers paid back the loans (or ARE paying back the loans) unlike the banks. And, to be fair, if people were't buying those gas guzzling SUV's the manufacturers wouldn't be making them. Sure, they're more profitable and sure they are effectively cheaper to make because they're listed as trucks not cars. But a large chunk of the blame goes to the car buying public. We were given a choice and took More POWER over better fuel economy.

      Personally, I ride a motorcycle. 45+ MPG -and- I can leave a Corvette for dead on a mountain road.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  19. GWE

    Teleportation is the way to go, let’s just spend the money to figure this out now instead of 100 years from now! Oh wait, we don’t want to pay taxes so let’s keep on with the fossil fuel vehicles.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • damniel

      I think teleportation is more like 500 years out, if ever. And it will probably never be used for humans. So I don't think spending a huge effort on this technology at this point in human development would be very wise.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
      • Elliphant

        Aw, c'mon; Kirk & the boys bin doin' it fer almost 50 years

        March 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  20. qularknoo

    I don't want a car that drives itself. I like driving myself.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • levi

      are u stupid

      February 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
      • DJ

        No he likes driving...because he's probrably good at it. The people who don't like driving, the people who drive unnecesaily slow, the people who can't drive.....those are the ones that cause accidents. The people who go 150 mph and are involved in "serious" crashes usually involve only themselves and a pole.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • steve

        You are stupid. Do you understand why some people still ride bikes? Driving, to some, is fun. But, of course, it might be a burden to idiots.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
      • becominganrn

        I agree levi, I hate driving with every fiber of my being and I consider myself a very good driver. There is absolutely nothing fun about driving. What is fun are the things you see while you're driving and when you get to where you're going. You can still go on scenic trips and the only difference will be you can actually enjoy the view, because you won't be driving.

        I just can't figure out why anyone would enjoy driving. It's just like a job, it's nothing more than a means to an end.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • Adrian

        no, we're not stupid. The only reason people buy cars today is because it gives them (a sense of) freedom. That inlcudes making a random unplanned right turn every now and then and yes, it also includes going a littel too fast now and then and making the tires squeal. Once you take that away, cars won't sell anymore. How many jobs would be at stake in the automotive industry?

        February 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Elliphant

      I don't like driving myself, but I do like driving my car. And my wife....

      March 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  21. John

    I would love to see fully automated driving. It would be so great to go back to sleep on your way to work or on your way home from work. Instead of the seats you have now, it would be a couch..

    February 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Reason & Logic

      Rely on computers? Drive to Springfield, IL and end up in Springfield, MA or how about Portland, OR and Portland, ME, Quincy, MA and Quincy Market in Boston, and then hope that your car's on-board computer doesn't get a virus.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
      • Yimmy

        should create interesting trips!

        February 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
      • Stryder

        Windows Not Responding

        February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • Elliphant

        If my destination was in Oregon and the car was taking me to Maine, I think I might notice after a couple of days....

        March 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  22. Kevin

    The arguments against will get interesting. Who has the most to lose?
    1. Police officers, no more traffic violations, DUIs, or accidents. How many will be laid off?
    2. Lawyers. Same reasons, personal injury suits go way down, no DUI defenses, etc....
    3. Teamsters. Very limited amount truck drivers.

    These 3, and maybe more, will exert some significant political pressure.

    Who gains, every single tax payer. Far less police officers, less people in court for tickets and DUIs, less people in prison, etc.. This could mean reduced taxes or improved local and state services.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Reason & Logic

      This will never happen just like the 4-day work week that was predicted in the early 70's never materialized.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
      • Jason

        Automation is the way to go! you rejecting it because you must too old. We need to move on. Hope you don't get left behind.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
      • DJ

        responding to jason. Not only am I 20 years old but I'd rather have a manual than an automatic. Because I like driving cars, and I'm very good at it....automated cars? for the average person sure....but for me? forget that.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • Reason & Logic

        To Jason, I'm 63, spend 60 minutes every day at the gym, play sports, write for a living, lead a writers group, take care of two dogs, have a Honda that has 200,695 miles on it, play guitar, and am involved in local politics. Does that sound like an old person to you?

        February 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • damniel

        Well, hate to say it, but your 63. That by the definition of most people is old. I could be 20 years old with type II diabetes who sits on his couch all day eating potato chips and is 200 lbs overweight. (I'm really none of those things.) I'd still be young even though in all likelihood I would die before you.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Lars

      So many other impacts:

      1) Auto insurance would just about go away
      2) No need for taxi drivers
      3) Car rental business could change drastically – cars could just show up when and where needed
      4) Anyone could "drive" – age and physical condition are not an issue – would drastically change accessibility for many people

      February 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
      • Shockwave

        The biggest obstacle will be insurance. The insurance is required by law, but the insurance companies will have to discount automatic guidance cars because of the lower accident rate - something they won't like at first. But once they realize that people have to keep paying, and the insurance company doesn't have to pay anything out, they'll love it.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • schmitty

      Some reasons against:
      1.) replacing the current car to car communication (middle finger) with too costly an alternative
      2.) adding more weight to vehicles and thereby decreasing fuel efficiency
      3.) SPAM; I didnt want to go to Target... I don't care if theres a sale
      4.) Diabetes, no more pizza delivery guy

      February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
      • jb

        Ugh, I forgot about the marketing – no joke, you are absolutely right on target (pun intended).

        I predict in the future we will spend increasing amounts of time in front of "displays" where moving pictures will be wirelessly beamed and displayed encouraging us to consume. ;)

        My car is like my last refuge, please God, no commercials. I listed to public radio, or the sound of the air moving past me.

        Next in the news: Border states increasingly upset over Mexican trucks coming across the border, driven by Mexican computers, demand only American computers be allowed to drive trucks in US.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • T

      On the nose Kevin...municipalities and the police don't hand out DUI's for our safety. This is a major revenue stream. I'd love to see a world were less cops were necessary and they couldn't target normal citizens for revenue. They'd actually have to do their job, serve and protect.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  23. Reason & Logic

    The driver-less cars don't address the real issue and that is the amount of vehicles on our highways using fossil fuels. Rather than this technology being the savior for commuters, a more logical adaptation would be allowing people to telecommute from home and/or build computer hubs in industrial parks where employees from many different companies can drive 5-10 miles from home, reserve a cubicle, plug in their laptops, and work without spending 1-2 hours per day on a round-trip commute.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  24. G

    Funny. theses been a lot of stories on this tech in the last few weeks. I wonder if it's because it looks Like google has trumped them all with a car that can operate completely as a driver does without the need of tracking devices, track, magnets in the road and stuff. The technology seems ready as they are testing it on public roads NOW .. potential in the near future you would be able to by one and operate it anywhere the driving laws are similar without need of help from external infrastructure

    February 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  25. CJ

    We could have been enjoying this technology by 1990....were it not for Insurance companies who gain from our driving habits, and of course the oil lobby, and all those who benefit from it, yes, that's the millions of republican families connected to these shams of industries...

    Move on. To the future. We need to get off oil and off insurance.

    Who Killed the electric car? Watch it and find out.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • Reason & Logic

      So how do you set the speed of the car? Will some old granny drive 25 on a 40 mph road and then everyone behind her has to conform to her driving habits? Plus if you have a mixture of driver-less cars and driver operated cars on the road it could be a recipe for disaster. I'd rather see us invest in rapid transit and light rail and get as many cars off the road as possible.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  26. biff

    This is the dumbest of all ideas. Why would I trust my life with some computer programmers when I can personally react to situations while driving that the programmers can not predict. I am sure these cars have sensors on them. How are they going to be effective in fog or in a blizzard when snow covers them. When I hit black ice, I have a better chance of getting through it than some program that tries to predict what to do on black ice. Plus for a lot of people is a lot funner and enjoyable to drive than being a passenger most of the time. FInally who do we get to sue we us real drivers are hit by these cars. The only benefit from these cars is the large lawsuits we will win from being injured by these stupid things.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • shan22044

      Wrong!
      Funny how people suddenly become afraid of technology when it gets too new for them. But they rely dearly on all of the technology that's mainstream. I like the idea of a Minority-Report type future. There's like 50,000 people who die each year in car accidents, like 600K in the past 10 years! If you have a vehicle that can stop you from speeding, stop you from running into things, stop you from driving drunk – and saves lives, what's the problem? You do realize that people in general are horrible drivers with terrible reflexes and a lack of knowledge of traffic rules?

      February 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
      • Reason & Logic

        BAD idea! This does nothing to address our reliance on fossil fuels. I'd rather see us invest in rapid transit and light rail and get as many cars off the road as possible.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • shan22044

        At the end of the article they said that no longer would heavy metal cars be a requirement. Maybe what could be possible would be like the equivalent of public transportation but more personalized. It could change the game – maybe all of the vehicles could operate on an electric grid?

        February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • fisho

      These cars use LIDAR, and can see though fog, rain, blizzards, and can even sense vehicles in front of vehicles and anticipate what is going that we cannot see.

      All we are doing when driving is answering a bunch of yes no questions and a computer can do that far faster and more accurately than we can. The newest generation of planes 787 and A380 can actually land themselves as an example very complex actions we have relied on for humans to do for many years that can now be done by compter systems.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • really?

      This idea is dumber than putting people in front of the wheel? From what I understand the road is one of the most dangerous places to be. Aggressive drivers, inattentive drivers, inebriated drivers all cause more accidents than I suspect technology would...because technology won't be mad that someone is going 10 mph under the speed limit because all cars would go the posted speed limit. Technology won't be distracted by their cell phones or radio or kids in the car. Technology will not go to a bar and then drive home. I would prefer everyday to be driving with technology because I see so many stupid people making driving mistakes every single day. Running lights, skipping turns, weaving in and out of traffic. For every responsible driver there are usually 10 that I see that either don't know the laws (you must stop BEFORE the white line at the intersection, not on top of or inching into the middle–no you will not get to your destination faster by being a foot over the white line but you block the safety of all pedestrians with your impatience). I vote yes–or I vote to remove all aggressive, inattentive, inebriated drivers from the road. I will be left with only a few people then during my morning and evening commutes and will not need to replace my bumper for the 4th time due to someone else's mistakes in driving. And I will no longer lose friends and family to these drivers either. I say hello future and good bye to americans who think they can drive better than technology–the statistics would speak for themselves.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • for-it

      You trust your life to programmers now if you drive a car or ride on public transportation, trains, etc.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Don't be afraid

      Because computers can be more effective than humans. Anti-locking brakes are one example.

      And an 81% reduction in accidents is huge. And multicar disasters like what happened in Florida where 10 people lost their lives could be avoided.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  27. Rahul

    How does the car know whether its in the lane or not? the rest of it is not very hard, e.g. a radar can be used to maintain safe driving distance and carry out other tasks such as lane switching

    February 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  28. WomenOnGuard

    Computer glitches are my fear. They better have good backup systems for errors!

    February 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Your bigger fear should be how mindless these super tech gadgets ar making everone morons, unable to think for them selves. Just go to a burger joint when the computers are down! We are becoming nothing more than cattle.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  29. crut

    A car that cant crash? Wasnt there a ship that was thought 'unsinkable' about a hundred years back? It sank.....just saying..

    February 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • CJ

      and the millions of safer ships that have been built since? One case equals an argument?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  30. John

    will be over priced just like the hybrid

    February 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • LV

      Ah, could be worse. All of the tax credits on the VOLT went to the dealers and their friends, not to consumers, who only found slightly used VOLTs on the lot selling above list, no tax credit.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • basketcase

      All new technology is going to be expensive. After a while, the prices will drop, and it will become more widespread. The same thing has happened with just about every major technological advancement of modern civilization. Examples: cars, TVs, computers, cell phones, smartphones, microwaves etc.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  31. LV

    This is all hype and marketing spin.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  32. Reason & Logic

    Trains & airplanes still crash, boats still sink, how are we going to have crash-less cars when we can't even keep other modes of mass-transit safe?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
    • LV

      We're not. This is all a giant load of BS.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Smeagel4T

      Yes, true. But planes crash far less than cars, and boats sink far less than cars. The big freighters that go back and forth across the oceans are basically all automated. The miniscule crew is mostly there to do maintenance.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
      • LV

        Yeah, in open water. They still have to pilot in/out of ports, and need help to do it.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
      • Dan

        Gee....is there a plane flying or a boat sailinf for virtually every two adults in at least our country? Stats are per capita in these reports.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • becominganrn

      Because these other modes of transportation still rely on the human element and that's the problem. Humans are incompetent.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  33. Smeagel4T

    It'll start out as a mix/transition, just like they're talking about adaptive cruise control. What people want is to select what level of automation they want to use at any given time. So if I've got nothing better to do, maybe I want to actually drive the car. But when I'm on a long commute to a client's, it'd be nice to put the car on full-automated so I can make business calls, write notes, answer email, etc, without concern for being a traffic hazard. This is where we see "justifications" for paying a higher price start coming into play. A consultant or sales person constantly traveling between customers would easily justify a higher price for the vehicle because of the extra work the person could get done while "driving".

    I used to do design work for a company that was partnering with Mercedes Benz (big) trucks on a lane monitoring system. The system would "watch" the lane markers. If the driver started drifting out of lane without having turned on his/her turn signal, a loud horn would go off in the cab. The assumption being the driver was starting to fall asleep. Falling asleep (or just day dreaming) is a serious concern for long haul truckers. It's one of the reasons truckers used to (and sometimes still do) pick up hitchhikers. Now we're starting to see similar lane monitoring systems being installed in passenger vehicles.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
    • Reason & Logic

      So I would imagine this lane marking system would not work during snow storms, dust storms, perhaps even during rainstorms. For the people who would get work done in their car while it drives itself there are just as many people who would get carsick trying to do that. Hopefully, this does not get implemented in rural parts of the country where people tend to live a more normal life than those in the big cities.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
      • jeff

        We have imaging technologies that can see through stuff like snow. That's not an issue.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
      • Anon

        Normal is a relative term. Since more people live in cities than in rural areas, it would be logical to say that rural people are not normal.

        February 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Reason & Logic

      The driver-less cars don't address the real issue and that is the amount of vehicles on our highways using fossil fuels. Rather than this technology being the savior for commuters, a more logical adaptation would be allowing people to telecommute and/or build computer hubs in industrial parks where employees from many different companies can drive 5-10 miles from home, reserve a cubicle, plug in their laptops, and work without spending 1-2 hours per day on a round-trip commute.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
      • menoc

        Yes and no. The fact is that while most traffic congestions are caused by the sheer number of cars on the roads, the congestion itself is attributed to the decision making of motorists. They call this "the Butterfly effect" – where a motorist makes a sudden maneuver and it creates a ripple effect on the entire traffic flow. Autonomous vehicles could help avoid this type of situation or completely do away with this type of problem. Traffic jams are a different issue. Traffic jams (where the flow of traffic stops completely) are caused, for the most part, by accidents and inclement weather. Technology will also help alleviate both.

        February 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • menoc

        As far as fossil fuels, we are already addressing that problem with alternative power. But we're not talking about global warming here. That would be for a different article.

        February 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  34. waterman

    The technological progress has been wonderful. I predict that in 5 years, you will see a small minority using automated cars on the road. In 10 years, it will be a sizable minority using it in their daily lives every day. In 20 years, doubts from skeptics will be gone and it will be the norm. Only the richest will drive it themselves, as only they would be able to afford the premiums for human drivers.

    This is excellent for everyone, as (1) the chance of getting killed or disabled for your or your family is reduced a lot (2) It is especially a blessing for old people, who will be able to maintain their independence. (3) Cars will be lighter and much more efficient, buh-bye oil wars and terrorists (4) Massive savings of time, as you will be able to do useful things while commuting. Mom can help kids with homework while taking them to soccer practice. Dad can play now and get the presentation done on the way to the office. Pay the bills online on the way back, or catch a movie.

    The benefits are so overwhelming that any obstacles such as liability issues will be resolved. They will have to be.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • Chris K

      We will look back at automated cars in 30 years and realize this was a significant step towards the first non-biological life forms. Consider, automated cars will the first machines that will interactnig with society on a large scale, navigating the world, setting out and accomplishing goals, making decisions, providing feedback for self-improvement.... evolving. Automated cars will be bigger than the internet!

      February 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  35. menoc

    This is perhaps the technology that may change the way we live forever. Think about this. Commuting consumes about 40% of people's time, and by that I mean the act of driving itself – having your hands on the wheel and paying attention to the road. If we could free up all that time, everyone will become much, much more productive. This could affect everything from our health to our longevity. As a 40-year-old man with elderly parents in their 70s, I can tell you that the health effects of not being able to commute easily takes a huge toll on the elderly and the handicapped. This car tech could have a huge impact on their health. And also, I good reason to support legislation on this technology is that most of us Gen Xers will most likely loose our ability to drive safely in about 30-40 years. I, for one, welcome our autonomous driver overlords.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • CloseButNoCigar

      You had me up until "loose". There's only one o in lose....and two o's in Goose.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
      • menoc

        An honest mistake from someone who forgot left his glasses at home today. :-{

        February 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  36. TX_flyer

    Wow! TCAS for cars!

    February 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  37. WASP

    i like the idea. it removes so much "human error" from the whole driving experience. i enjoy public transit seeing i live in NYC. great idea i also agree it would end car theft, drive bys, and speed limits. the speed on how quick a computer in ohhhhh 20 years could compute speed and forsee hazards would permit speed you only see on the autobon without the death toll. quick, safe relaxed ride to your destination.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      WASP – It would not replace human error.It would add to human error:communication error, programming error, maliciously induced error, calibration error, etc....

      February 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  38. Nate H

    I think this will happen – but within reason. The vechicle-to-vehicle communication will probably happen. That will be awesome, because it will stop accidental fender-benders, etc. It will also stop nasty drivers from riding your tail because you aren't going fast enough for them. But I don't think we're quite ready for fully automated cars. Too many potentials for disaster.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
    • Anon

      Then don't drive in the left lane if you don't want someone on your bumper. And definitely don't drive side-by-side with the car next to you. If you want to go the same speed as the person in the right lane, GET INTO THE RIGHT LANE!!!!

      February 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  39. Derek

    Hopefully the driverless cars shall be better than a GPS! A GPS is helpful, but there are still many kinks & one needs a human for common sense & safety! If I followed EXACTLY where my GPS told me where to go, I would have driven off a cliff or onto dirt, closed roads & also areas where roads do NOT really exist!

    February 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • Meko

      It's not the GPS you're talking about. It's the mapping tech being used byt the manufacturer of the product providing you directions. GPS is just fine sans solar flares.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
      • Derek

        True, but the bottom line is that there are still kinks in the system which need to be worked out to make driverless cars safe! Then there needs to be a manual override just in case the system crashes! Even trains have conductors as a safety backup! Something with common sense, although I agree NOT all drivers have common sense!

        February 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  40. PudninTane

    It's 2012! Where the hell is my flying car?!

    February 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • TX_flyer

      It's here...can you afford it?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
      • PudninTane

        No it's not! I'm not talking about a damn Cesna or helicopter. I want a George Jetson car that flies out of my driveway and folds up into a briefcase!

        February 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  41. Skeptical

    Skynet: Step one

    February 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • John

      Sure is!

      February 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  42. Dan

    I suspect that this technology and the communications that it depends on can easily be jammed or hacked. It would be easy to maliciously or accidentally shut down or tamper with it. Also, isn't there currently an article on CNN warning us that we have run out of EM bandwidth already. How do they plan to cram the huge amount of wireless communication that this would use into an already full EM spectrum? The infrastructure to make this work would be huge and hugely expensive. Currently our air-traffic control system works only marginally well. It routes only a fraction of the number of vehicles compared to the number of cars on the road. A "near miss" in an aircraft is when they get within 500 ft. When you are on the freeway how many times per minute are you within 500 ft of other cars? Do we have the technical ability to do this? Probably. Can we afford to do this? Probably not. The Trillions of dollars this would cost would be better spent elsewhere. I think we are at least several human generations away from this. I'm guessing it will never happen. Maybe it shouldn't happen. Why can't people just drive like they have half a brain?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      You don't have to worry about hacking. This is a pipe dream. Why? Because it can never work as long as a sizable percentage of the cars on the road AREN'T equipped with this gee-whiz technology. There's no way you'll ever be able to retrofit this gee-whiz technology into older cars and no way you'll ever be able to ban them from the roads either.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
      • Dan

        Howard – Yes, that too.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Dean

      No, we are not out of EM bandwidth. The article was about the *allocated* bandwidth for data and voice. In addition, 'hacking' might be an issue for an individual, but likely not for the network – because, like the Internet, it would not be central control.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  43. Richard

    This is bad, very bad. If this technology is proven to work with anything approaching consistancy it will not be long before insurance companies (with government backing), will FORBID human piloting of private vehicles. Citations could be issued for human drivers who were involved in an accident in the same way that use of seat belts, cell phones, etc. is now restricted or monitored.

    AS OF this writing, some insurance companies are already offering an incentive to install a monitoring device in private vehicles for a "reduction in premium" costs.

    Enjoy the open road while you may. Very soon the government and insurance companies may insist upon revolking your driving priviledges altogether. You'll still have to pay for it, you'll just not be able to enjoy driving.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      But you will be able to enjoy everything else you love while something drives you around. Frankly, I'll take some love-making over driving any day. But that may not be your preference.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Meko

      The monitoring you're describing that is being installed in cars is merely an OBDII sensor. You can buy your own on Amazon for about $20.00 and have it output your own realtime information to your Android or iPhone.

      FWIW it provides information on how you drive such as acceleration, distance, speed. It can also provide worlds more information which can be beneficial to the driver/owner of the vehicle such as how your car is performing e.g. coolant temps, engine temps, upcoming problems before the become BIG expensive problems.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  44. Clinton

    Well, first i don't think the Insurance companies would appreciate a car that doesn't crash... second i really don't know that i would ever be able to trust a machine to handle driving me around... what happens if your Car's computer crashes? Glitches? all of a sudden we're living on the hopes that these machines are absolutely infallable?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Meko

      Haven't you every flown in an airplane? It's auto pilot after take off.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Let me get this straight: you think the insurance companies want to have big expenditures? You understand that they loose profits every time one of their customers requires payment of coverage for an accident? What logic makes you think the insurance companies want less profits? Why would you not think that they would prefer everyone pay them and they never have to pay anyone back?

      ???

      February 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  45. The all potent one

    If my auto driving car gets in a crash can I sue the manufacturer?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  46. TechSavvy

    We want this technology in USA. If you don't like it go back to where your ancestors came from.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
    • mainer15

      I'm not allowed to drive yet but I'm pretty sure that I don't want a machine to drive me around, I mean whats the fun in that.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
      • Meko

        Yes, flying is such a bore. I wish i could be the pilot on every plane I've every flown on. Wait, you're telling me pilots don't fly the plane anymore?

        Your generation might not like this, but there are other generations coming and it's clear that with each new generation, adoption rates around tech seem to speed up.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • James

        Flying IS a bore, I much prefer to be at the controls, but that's an expensive way to get around unless you do it for a living.

        February 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  47. Robert

    So, if our cars are becoming 'auto'mated so we can do other things...why dont we just hop on a train? Why dont we fund for a decent rail system in this country? After all, thats what this country was built with...

    February 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • Azezel

      Could but then you would have to require that everyone live within 6 blocks of a rail line... Its a trade off. You gain resource efficiency with a smart zone but you loose productivity and individual energy when you do that. As well as problems that come with stacking people on people.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  48. john

    Think about this you could but you kids in the kids car and send them to school where the car would then park and wait for them to get to school you could put a parental lock on the car so even when they get out of school the car takes them strait to the babysitters. you could even have a system for younger kids so that when they go to school the car stops and wiats for a teacher to unlock the door.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  49. jason

    I think this is great and I cannot wait. People will be able to do the things they do now but, with a wider margin of safety, such as talk and text, eat, personal grooming, making an entertainment selection, have a passionate conversation, or take a nap. Roadway congestion will be a thing of the past because vehicles will be able to use more of the road, as opposed to 15% now. Good bye "buggy whip".

    February 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  50. John S

    This technology might take place but it will not be without accidents. As we know about anything built or designed by humans. Their is always problems or failures. Which will no doubt cause accidents. Yes, I do agree that human error also plays a lot in causing accidents today. But eliminating the human driver error only addresses part of the accident problem. Other problems are mechanical issues and weather related accidents. Not to mention the monitary issues of cost infrastructure improvements and other expenditures related to this. We have yet to computer control trains which run on tracks. How is it that we will do this in large numbers with cars anytime soon?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Weather related accidents fall under the Human error category. Weather is never at fault in an accident.

      Mechanical problems are heavily based on neglect. People who do not follow prescribed maintenance schedules or fail to check fluids and hoses often have problems. Could be heavily minimizing of maintenance related accidents if implemented to keep a human on top of the maintenance.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
      • mainer15

        Weather does cause accidents a completely alert driver who has a lot of experience can take a corner in a blizzard hit a patch of ice and spin into oncoming traffic.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
      • Patrick

        Then the driver was negligent by driving too fast for the existing conditions. Basic tenant of speed laws. This is Driver's Ed 101 stuff, people.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Meko

      We may not have trains on computer control everywhere, but if you look at a large AirBus or Boeing, you'll find that the vast majority of flying is completely under computer control. BTW we're presently in the middle of the safest flying run ever in human history. I think that counts for something.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  51. Bremen

    See I couldn't trust an automated car. Yes I have ridden on some electric vehicles that drive themselves however they are on a guided rail. No matter how they perfect the automobile to function without a driver, I simply couldn't just let the car drive itself, I need to be in charge of how the vehicle operates.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  52. The Angry Humper

    PIPEDREAM

    February 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  53. Kevin

    If that day come, what they we call the "driver seat"?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  54. phan

    hopefully this autodrive or car to car communication is aware of the slow, hazardous drivers in the left/passing lane and moves them over to the lane they are meant to be in. Instead on creating a mile of traffic behind them... clearly they are not aware of their surroundings. I dont know how half the people on the roads have a license. That would just make my day. If I could talk to the car next to me and let them know they should be in the other lane.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Don't forget the speeders! The cars will be able to chastise each other for exceeding the speed limit.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  55. -[_:(|]

    ....ressitance is futile...jao will be assimilated...[|):_)<

    February 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  56. Jim970

    All computer controlled, so nothing can go wrong. Only problem is that the computers still frequently crash. So what happens to the car then?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      It and the other cars involve exchange insurance information.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • khurrum

      Jim, it won't be your personal computer running windows 7 that is controlling these things. There are lots of computers that don't crash.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • James

      Nothing complex enough to drive a car is completely free of bugs. I was on an airliner once that had to go back to the gate after we started taxiing because a critical system had to be rebooted, no joke.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  57. rickp530

    Once this technology is in place, insurance providers will probably offer discounts for newer cars, but auto insurance will never go away. Let's hope the insurance companies offer discounts, because you are going to be paying a lot more for a car that has that technology.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • Lou

      I'm sure the the insurance companies dont like the sound of this. Lower premiums??? Gasp. Sure, it would result in fewer losses and there are plenty of other lines to generate premiums (marine, home, work comp), but auto is a huge part of it and would cut into investment capital. Could cause a change in the way companies do business, cause layoffs, merging. Obviously layoffs being an unfortunate side effect of it.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  58. The Angry Humper

    driverless car? lame. ride the bus or get a taxi if you don't want to drive.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  59. Rich

    Good! Humans make for terrible drivers anyway.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  60. asdf

    This is the future do not know why people are against it.
    First thing first it is for me a peer to peer system, so even if your car break down the one behind will be able to notice your mistake, and there is obviously going to be a failsafe. This could also be based on some public transportation system, like some have said above.

    Biggest problem for me is getting from a to b without someone scrambling the gps, system, well you could just preinstall it, from closest computer on the hardrive, to allow the car to drive on offline mode and rely on the data it got. Plus this removes many of the problems of human error and all of you that are saying tech is causing crashes by distraction, you do not understand that this allows them to go on their distraction, and have no crashes. Although hope there is an alcohol meter to stop a drunk guy from taking manual control.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  61. Jen

    I find fault in the final statement of the article. I have noticed that the electrical and computer systems in cars have become increasingly complicated and also increasingly complicated to fix in modern cars. I do not believe that these advanced computers will never fail based on the failure rate of our modern technology.

    While I acknowledge that the resulting crashes associated with failing computer systems will probably be much less than the current automobile accident rate, I can't help but think that you will never be able to swap out the safety systems we have employed in modern cars simply because you can't guarantee a 0% accident rate. Thus, I disagree with the final statements of this article.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  62. Rambo

    The photo is dated October 2010. So the future was there 15 months ago? Where did it go??? Did I miss the future again?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  63. Bob

    Wow, doesn't mass transit already accomplish this?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Why are all you idiots wasting your time talking about this.......we will never see this in our life time....even if someone reading this is just starting to drive........this would never work until "ALL" cars on the road are equiped this way and besides if you look at other historical predictions......like we were supposed to have been on Mars already, and be flying space ships already like they said we would back in the 50's 60's......and here we are 70 plus years later and none of that is true. You idiots need to pull your heads out of your buttts and come back to reality

      February 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • Mahmoud el-darwish

      Bob. yes. Sometimes the obvious eludes the oblivious.
      This 'concept' innovation is much like many, the wrong solution to a problem.
      Have the innovators of the driver-less car considered the following:
      – Will it not mean that occupants of driver less cars are absolved of responsibility for crashes if they occur?
      – Will occupants be allowed to engage in actions and behaviors currently outlawed for safety reasons? I refer to imbibing alcoholic beverages over what is now considered to be the legal limit?
      – Will driver-less cars have a positive or a negative impact on congestion?
      – Will driver's licensing be a thing of the past?
      – What happens if there's a systematic failure in the infrastructure that enables driver-less cars? Are we staring mass collisions in the event of such a disaster?
      – Will there a be a different set of laws governing commercial versus non-commercial vehicles?
      – How will jobs eliminated as a result of driver-less cars be replaced if at all?
      – How will the driver-less cars paradigm influence policy and pans for aggregate mass transit?
      – Is driver-less personal transportation a moot concept in the larger framework of neo-urban living?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  64. AlCourts

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Vanessa

      Does that mean we won't be required to have car insurance anymore?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  65. TRH

    Is this anything like the paperless office and world peace?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  66. Anwar M. Farooq

    The article is interesting but we need present-day technology to solve some of our immediate problems, like traffic congestion on freeways. These are futuristic ideas that may not work later.
    I think a practical solution for relieving traffic congestion on freeways is shown in animation at http://www.rapidcommute.net.
    Please check it out.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Jon in Balto

      Saw the video. We already have this. It is called the Auto-Train.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  67. Craig

    I think the insurance companies are going to drive (sorry about the pun) this. They already are dealing with this sort of thing. Cars equipped with certain safety features receive a brake on the insurance premium. This is just another (albeit) much more significant safety feature.

    If your brakes fail, and you hit a car, does your insurance cover you? I think we can say brakes are a very important safety feature. If I'm "driving" in a autonomous car and I'm involved in an accident, why shouldn't my insurance cover me the same way inwhich it would cover failed breaks?

    The way I see it, insurance companies will be cautious at first, insuring customers with the new autonomous features perhaps with higher premiums. But if the data comes back that cars with these features lowers the crash risk, you can bet they will jump on that. In effect, insurance companies will eventually start to charge higher premiums for cars WITHOUT the feature, which will in turn make it more appealing to consumers to get on board.

    That's the way I see it possibly unfolding.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
    • Mozzis

      Insighful. Except you have swapped "brakes" (device on cars) and "breaks" (malfunction or advantage) :)

      February 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
      • Craig

        Alas... my grammer breaks down!

        February 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • geoge

      Why have insurance if you can't crash GOODBY INSURANCE CO.!

      February 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
      • geoge

        I forgot' can't speed NO NEED FOR TRAFFIC POLICE.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • menoc

      This is perhaps the technology that may change the way we live forever. Think about this. Commuting consumes about 40% of people's time, and by that I mean the act of driving itself – having your hands on the wheel and paying attention to the road. If we could free up all that time, everyone will become much, much more productive. This could affect everything from our health to our longevity. As a 40-year-old man with elderly parents in their 70s, I can tell you that the health effects of not being able to commute easily takes a huge toll on the elderly and the handicapped. This car tech could have a huge impact on their health. And also, I good reason to support legislation on this technology is that most of us Gen Xers will most likely loose our ability to drive safely in about 30-40 years. I, for one, welcome our autonomous driver overlords.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  68. jerrycc

    Every and I mean every electronic device I use from cell phones, computers to washers and dryers to blood machines constantly break down. I don't think I would put my live in the habnds of a cardboard circuit board made in China.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • Craig

      Your spell check broke down on you too! :-)

      February 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Sean

      You already do, with your cell phones, computers, washers and dryers and blood machines.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • offpistewilly

      you already do, every day when you get in your current car...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • duh

      Get a mac.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • whisk3rs

      Except you already do, every time you get into a car, bus, train, or plane. Your car is controlled by a computer already, you didn't know that?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      right...and you trust a very complex and imperfect human prone with millions of error modes?

      ah...the fearful and simple mind of the anti-technologist. You people have been around for a while. And while you sit there and fear and complain about the risks of technology, the world keeps moving forward. If you don't know how technology drives critical life saving systems in transportation and medicine, then you are very short minded.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  69. longtooth

    As someone who does a lot of interstate driving, I hope I live long enough to see this happen. I usually set cruise control at 70 mph, and am passed regularly by people texting, looking at maps, even one woman flossing her teeth while steering with her elbows. Please, let the car do the driving!

    February 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • Warren

      shut your face........some of us love to blast past you old farts.........I especially love to intimidate and change lanes just at the last second before passing.......i "teach" people like you not to take the highways and just stay to the surface streets where the speed of your driving matches the speed of your brain

      February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
      • dodokis85

        Retard!

        February 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • Manny!

        really? you sir are the reason why technology NEEDS to improve, to cover the stupidity of some individuals who do not fully comprehend that driving is a priviledge, not a sport. You want to race? take your "speed machine" to the drags or better yet, become a professional driver.

        -24 yr old who is clearly more mature than you

        February 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • whisk3rs

        I second dodocis' comment. You're an idiot.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  70. Rambo

    What we need now, is r3tarded Topics like this one that deletes itself.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:58 am | Reply
    • Aaron

      Please get this to all Asian drivers right away.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
      • Christin

        Asians can get in line behind the Somali's – because here in Minneapolis they are by far the WORST drivers I have ever seen. And the scary part is they encompass about 97% of our cab drivers!

        February 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  71. Rick

    I would love to see Electric cars that drive themselves. Fewer accidents, no fuel consumption, and let politics to keep Oil companies running the car industry.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • Brian

      Because generating electricity doesn't consume any fuel ...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
      • Q

        There are alternative ways to create electrical energy: wind, solar, hydro and certainly, oil and coal. Less of the latter would be great.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jen

      electric cars rely on our power grid, which is mostly supplied by fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and a little oil). Furthermore, we don't have the infrastructure in place to support a massive increase in electric cars on the road and people are not so keen on having additional high voltage lines running through their back yard.

      Anyone ever thought of the hydrogen car?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  72. Jones

    Meanwhile, in the midst of all of these lovely advancements, over 1/2 the population is being priced out of owning any kind of car at all.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • Tony

      Really? go back 20 or 30 years, show them an i-Phone and tell them that virtually most middle-schoolers will own one. The will mock you the same way people like you mock technological advances...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  73. DT

    This technology will be afforded as a luxury, at first. Then it will become standard, but optional. Then it will become mandatory. Welcome to technocracy.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Rambo

      Darwin applied to the rich? I'd be all for it if I didn't use the same roads.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
  74. blaqb0x

    The end of road-head accidents!!!

    February 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
  75. ShingoEX

    "Will there be a time in our lives when cars don’t crash?"

    Nope.

    "Auto technology experts say “yes."

    Auto technology experts are idiots. If their own cars break down (which they all do, eventually), then the machines that will auto-drive our vehicles will eventually break down as well.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • jpizza

      has your cruise-control ever failed on you before? i cant imagine the full-auto driving technology being much different than that, but i wouldnt know

      February 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
      • Chillli

        My cruise control did indeed fail once. Instead of maintaining highway speed, the speed climbed. When I used the brakes, I could tell that the car still wanted to accellerate. Shutting the curise off, tapping the brake pedal, and using the coast button did not turn it off. I eventually had to slow down as much as I could with the brake pedal, shift into neutral, and turn the key off. I'm all for safety automation in cars, but we are many years away from an autonomous car.

        February 23, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Tony

      There is something in the engineering world called "redundant systems"... a pretty basic concept...but maybe not simple enough for your brain....

      February 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  76. Tim U

    Let me make this perfectly clear to the car company's wasting money on this. I will never purchase, ride in, or want a car that drives itself.
    Move on.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • Rambo

      This topic should delete itself.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • IceMan

      And I would. Let's see who's in the majority...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
    • Mindlayr

      Why would we care what you think? If you don't want it don't buy one and mind your own business.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Speak4Yourself

      Let me make this clear to you: millions of people can't wait for the time when they can close the curtain and take a nap or surf the internet while they take that 3-hour trip by car to Aunt Susy who lives in Pennsylvania. It's inevitable, machines are our slaves and we increasingly demand them to make our lives easier and less inefficient. When that eventually happens, people like you will just be one of the dinosaurs who still prefer a typewriter versus a computer...

      February 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  77. Rambo

    I've been knee driving for 30 years myself thank you.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • JK

      Imagine the possiilities. if cars can communicate we can remove the speed limits :) It might be a good change but some of our right wing politicians want to take us back to the 8th century. This might not fit in with their design

      February 22, 2012 at 11:58 am | Reply
    • George

      Here we go, just another sign of "BIG BROTHER" controlling us.......our freedoms are slipping away faster than you think. Now Big Brother is telling us we can't even drive our selves, they will control it for us.....pretty soon, they will install microchips in us that control when we go to take a dump

      February 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
      • John Q.

        I swear, you guys are the next stage of Amish. Everyone advancing around you and you're stuck in some random time period where you decided everything was perfect but all the technology up until that point was okay. You're a dinosaur, move out of the way.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
      • Christin

        It's not big brother telling us we can't drive for ourselves – it is FACT that we can't safely drive ourselves. How many thousands of people die in avoidable "operator error" accidents every year? If you have never had a close friend or relative die in an auto accident, you are very lucky indeed. If this technology was in my place a few years ago, perhaps my 2 little nephews would still have their mommy.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  78. Steve G

    It could literally END DRUNK DRIVING and the whole texting disctracted driver thing... Amazing and I am 100% FOR IT!!!

    February 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
    • guest

      It's not going to matter anyway when half the people on the road won't have a new car with the technology installed.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
  79. somebody

    We already have this. It's called public transportation and could easily and cheaply replace half the vehicles on North American roads.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
    • longtooth

      Public transportation doesn't go everywhere. People do.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  80. cc

    Driverless cars won't crash when computers won't crash-I don't expect that to happen for at least the next 50 years, and probably not for the next century.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Hannah007

      Computers are no where close to being perfect

      February 22, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • Rambo

      Raise your hands, all the r3tards who would put their lives in Windows' hands.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • DT

      This technology will be afforded as a luxury, at first. Then it will become standard, but optional. Then it will become mandatory. Welcome to technocracy.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • chf

      Not all computers run Windows. In fact the majority don't if you include embedded systems. Non-Windows OS's tend to be much more reliable and robust.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • Warren

      Hey, go ahead let them put this hands free gizmo in my car.......I'll just wear a helmet and protective body armor until it fails on the highway at 70mph then I will sue the auto manufacture for like a gazillion megatrillion dollars!!!!!

      February 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
    • IceMan

      Raise your hands all those r3tards who think that Windows is less reliable than the average teenage driver.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      Every time you get on a plane, guess who's doing most the driving......computers.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      You have NO idea what technology is going to look like 50 years from now. If it's believable, you bet your ass it will happen less than 50 years from now.

      If someone from 2052 came to you and told you technology is like there, you will laugh at him and recommend anti-psychotic drugs...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
      • Chillli

        And if you would tell someone 50 years ago that anti-psychiatric drugs would be commonplace, they would have laughed you out of the room.

        February 23, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Chris K

      The econmonic benefits of automating vehichles is tremendous and the trucking industry should be leading this tech. If all goods that are delivered across this nation got to their destination without the cost of paying a truck driver then the cost of all goods that need to be send from point A to point B (which is everything) would decrease. Goods costing less means standard of living increases. The trucks themselves would be less exspensive to manufacture, eliminating the comfy cab area and inserting the radar/laser systems means trucks that can work 24/7 without ever getting tired, sick, or drunk. They wont even mind delivering on xmas.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  81. Jon

    Another upside to automated vehicles is that mfgs. can focus more on upgrading the interior with more comfortable appointments, like larger reclining seats to allow passengers to take a nap or just relax on the way to work or a long drive.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • Tim U

      If you want to relax and take a nap, just stay home.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Brian

      Manufacturers will be more concerned with lawsuit payouts when the tech fails and people crash. This tech changes the responsibility from the driver to the manufacturer. Lots of risk to put that in your car...

      February 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  82. Mozzis

    This can work. It has to be a peer-to-peer thing, doing everything from satellite has too much latency. But the car-to-car comms is just a helper, each car also has the tech to recognize and avoid obstacles (like a non-automated car changing lanes in front of you.) When a non-auto auto is nearby the system would have to be slower and more cautious, even more incentive from everyone else to make the switch. It will be implemented in stages too, first as "assistive" features (like the autoparking, or lane-wandering warning, etc.) and then eventually integrated into a fully automated system. The great insight of the article is how car buyers will be driving this.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
  83. emanresu8

    I'm a bit of an amateur futurist and have given this thought in the past. The upside to self-driving cars is undeniable: Tell the car where you want to go, it then sycs with a GPS master system that accounts for your vehicle in the overall area traffic and knows what parking is available at your destination reserving a spot for your arrival time. Take the human element out of the equation and there will be no accidents or traffic/delays on the way (merging, etc.). You can work on your laptop, read, whatever.

    The balance that has to be struck is implementing this while not taking away the freedom of the open road that we, (Americans in particular), enjoy. The solution I see is this: Allow people to drive as we have it today outside of metro areas, but when a driver is preparing to enter a metro/city area, they will have to provide a destination and allow automated driving to take over. Eliminating traffic in those areas will ONLY work if it's entirely automated by satellite.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • Jason

      cough....tunnels.....ahem

      February 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  84. CCBB

    While this looks great at first glance, unless all cars both old and new are required to install this system, there will be a mixture of automated cars and non-automated cars on the road (I seriously doubt people will allow their classic '67 to be modified, or the many people who actually like to drive their sports cars as fast as they can), which makes me wonder what will happen when the jerk with the non-automated car cuts off my automated car. Will the automated car really beat out human instinct and swerve the correct way to avoid him? Who's liable when one of these systems inevitably fails? How will these cars react in severe weather such as hurricanes or ice storms? How will it react in unavoidable collisions? How will it affect commute times? (I assume these cars would be "playing it safe" by going well under speed limits) There are simply too many variables this type of system would need to overcome. I simply don't see this becoming viable any time soon, if ever.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • ThatOneDude

      Your automated car would in fact be faster at avoiding that collision than you could ever be.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
      • Doug

        Until that kid with his laptop and wireless broadcaster that mimics a moving vehicle tells your car " 20' boulder in your lane! swerve right!" and you go flying off a cliff to land on a 20' boulder. This should be a VERY real fear. If it communicates, then there will be people who know how to speak the language and encourage those vehicles to do foolish and possibly lethal things.

        It can not be protected with the tech we have. Even if it could be, that would be very short lived.

        February 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
      • John Q.

        The same kid with the wireless router is just as dangerous by himself behind the wheel of his own car. Hacking can be traced, there are safeguards. If people want to cause an accident, then it's pretty easy to do with or without a computer.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Richww2

      When the system becomes very good and fully automated, the cars will actually be able to go faster because of no human error with traffic or roads or anything. The system will be able to speed up or slow down seamlessly with other cars and get to your destination faster. Also, there *should* be no accidents. Traffic jams will also be a thing of the past.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • Peter Grenader

      Some of these concerns you bring up will undoubtedly be handled in even the earliest versions of the s/w that run these systems. Real-time data is already out there for weather information and could be easily incorporated into the automated processes which affect driving speed or maneuvering or in the case of a extended travel situations like a cross state trip make alternate route suggestions to the human driver to avoid the area altogether. As far as commute times I see great potential. The percentage of the cars equipped will roughly equal the percentage of improvement. Think about it... what makes grid lock? While the number of cars on a given road is the biggest contributor, driver attention span is another biggy there. We tend to find other things to focus on when driving isn't one of them, when we're sitting at a stand still for extended periods and unknowingly open a large gap infront of us when the delay clears. Automated systems don't have these types of distractions. Carsw wo't run out of gas on a highway because their car will get them to a gas station before it happens. Same applies to engines that seize because it's running low on oil.

      The potentials for these systems are immense and if American car manufacturers become leaders in this arena instead of playing catchup to all the foreign companies as they have been by essentially letting them be their R and D departments, then if tough legislation arises mandating the use of automated upgrades or vehicles, they would by inference be mandating the purchase of an American vehicle, and we all know the potential benefit in that.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
      • Peter Grenader

        I own an iPhone 4s, and I think anyone who does sees the potential in automated assistance databases and navigational systems – I'm talking about Siri. I know, navigating around your phone is a lot different than doing the same in your neighborhood in a car, but there are similarities that will bring positive effects to collision and injury rates

        February 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  85. Matias

    If my car would have had the radio signal to warn the other driver not make an illegal u-turn my car would not have been hit yesterday. But, then again, how would the radio sensors pick up illogical thought processes? Because I'll take any advances in technology that can stop the stupidity of drivers...

    February 22, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  86. Driver

    First, I'd like to say that the spectrum that is slated for the vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology would be much better served for our increasingly overloaded cellular networks.

    Second, if people want to ride in a vehicle without having to drive, we already have these things. They're called buses, taxis and limos!

    Third, if we can make cars that don't crash, you still have to design them in the event that they do. Also, I think you would be hard pressed to find a car that is 100% accident-proof, even with sophisticated computer technology.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • mray

      Rather spend the spectrum on this than idiots texting while driving and playing angry birds. Look forward to the the day when people have to pay $200-$500 per month if they want internet on their cells.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • PJ

      1st of all the spectrum issue will be solved through exponential growth in technology.
      2nd Busses and taxies are not always available or convenient or affordable.
      3rd Any reduction in accidents is a good thing even if its not 100%.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • ACS

        No, the spectrum issue will NOT be solved by "...exponential growth in technology". that "exponential growth" will only make the limited spectrum issue worse – there are only so many radio frequencies to go around, then that's it; and the more advanced the technology, the greater the bandwidth and the more of hte spectrum that it takes up.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • njm

      i guess personally you don't have to drive buses or taxis but there is still a driver involved... buses/taxis applies if you live within city limits that has service however that option doesn't always work everyone since not everybody lives near the city... this i can do to be productive for my 1 hour commute each way

      February 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  87. morph147

    lets deal with the fuel issue first then go from there.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply
    • PJ

      Two words - Chevy Volt

      February 22, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • Dude in Colorado

      The fuel issue has been dealt with, it's called the hydrogen fuel cell... But Big Oil has to squeeze every last bit of wealth out of us FIRST, then we'll start seeing the fuel cell cars on the road is about 20 years.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
      • Mozzis

        H fuel cell tech is really really hard to make work right. I know whereof I speak. And the MPG is really lousy – like 1/4 to 1/2 of what you get from gas. So more frequent fillups or really big gas tanks. Then there are probs jsut getting the distribution set up. This took decades for gas, but companies who invest in really expensive HFC development won't have that long to make it all back. Nothing is free!

        February 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • ObvUsername

      Doing one thing at a time is stupid and slow. Autonomous cars would be more fuel efficient drivers, so that's part of the equation.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  88. Sunder

    do not expect to see this any soon .. its at least 10 years away from someone getting the hands on this. There are still a lot of areas to be covered. I wonder how this car will do in Oakland..... Problem is not the technology, it is the insurance companies, car makers and also other motorists. For me I would love to see this on road so that I can be assured that some car wont knock me off my motorcycle....

    February 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Reply
  89. Lurker

    So what's the point of getting a car that drives itself....why not just get into a bus, train, or basically something that you accomplish the same concept, which is you NOT driving. Perhaps if this spins off, then maybe those who don't have access to the mentioned transit systems could find use for it. if they focus on the safety aspect and find some way to avoid collisions, then that is something maybe to look into.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • Dolly

      This is fantastic. The main reason why I do not take public transportation is that there are not enough routes that go where I want to go. We can all own our little segment of the public transportation system and have it personalized to our requirements. Might also put the brakes so to speak on driveby shootings, stolen cars, kidnappings, etc. Less accidents means cheaper insurance premiums. Cars can by synced up so they can move at the same speed in less amount of space thus saving on gas and shortening commuting times.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • Ernesto

      You must have never taken NY public transport before. Imagine the convenience of a car, without the pitfalls of a bus or train...example, no wierdos, and a direct point a to b with no randoms stops.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  90. dike

    we need better public transportation. DMV here offers written drivers test in Chinese and Spanish. I would be driving less if only there were better public transportation.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
  91. Pakilegacy

    Insurance companines will fight tooth and nail to stop this. I believe if government approves this technology to go forward, they need to mandate that insurance companies drop the premiums.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • Snuggles

      I would think insurance companies would welcome this. Premiums are high because of the need to cover the cost for cars damaged/destroyed in accidents (its the same principle as for health insurance). Fewer accidents would mean more revenue to the insurance company because of fewer payouts to policy holders that wreck their cars - they would essentially be able to pocket the premium without having to pay nearly as much out, assuming this does dramatically reduce the number of accidents.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:09 am | Reply
      • cc

        Car insurance premiums are high for the same reason health insurance premiums are high-profits. (Some will point out that insurance companies lose money-and sometimes they do, but any consistent losses come from their investments. Premiums nearly always show a profit.) Insurance should be non-profit. Mutual insurance comes close because the shareholders are also their customers (policyholders). But none of it will work until we have mandatory and enforceable insurance-today we can't even enforce mandatory driver licensing.

        February 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Tony

      Au contraire: Insurance companies will rejoice. Why? Because the rate of change of premium prices always lags the statistical decrease in accidents. That means that even if they start lowering their premiums due to short term decrease in accidents, their profit margins will increase.

      Why do you think they spend so much money lobbying for more traffic signs, safety features, lower speed limits, etc...?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  92. Alex

    So, the main guy behind the google self-driving car is actually teaching a free online class on how to program a self-driving car. See http://www.udacity.com/overview/Course/cs373 . I think you can still sign up too, but it started earlier this week.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:12 am | Reply
  93. Itzoll

    Why don't they just add a feature that allows the driver to enable and disable the program. Just like that Audii that Will Smith drove in I Robot. If you disabled the program and you got into a car accident, then I think bigger penalties should be at stake.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:10 am | Reply
  94. Opinion

    They look like big rolling food processors. Obviously an alien plot.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
  95. derp

    ok this stuff is starting to make me really mad. We don't need more technology in this world. Our fathers and for-fathers lived without it so can we. But people are getting too lazy about everyday things and the "need" technology to help. Yeah right.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
    • sadtosay

      "We don't need more technology in this world.Our fathers and for-fathers lived without it so can we" They also died a lot more frequently without it. I get what you are saying about peoiple needing to be self-sufficient, and I know I want to always be in control of my own car, but its hard to justify with how many lives are lost in car collisions each year. I have some seen some gruesome collisions and just about all of them are driver error. If you had an operation would you prefer the anethisologist do his calculations on pen and paper or using a computer?

      February 22, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
      • King

        I understand what you are saying, too.....but all those accidents and humon error are piling up due to MORE technology being used while driving (cell phones, texting, and the idiots that read a kindle while driving). I love the fact that we are progressing as a whole in such a way that things we dreamnt up only for TV and movies are coming true for our time, but I also think that some things....well, just can be left out altogether.

        February 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • Welcome to the Future

        Our fathers also lived without plumbing, air conditioning, and drank out of the same bucket with a ladle. I enjoy a good camping trip just as much as the next guy but I don't want to go back to that. Bring on the days when I can push a button and relax, watch a movie, etc... while my car takes me on a four hour trip!

        February 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • MCP123

      "ok this stuff is starting to make me really mad. We don't need more technology in this world. Our fathers and for-fathers lived without it so can we. But people are getting too lazy about everyday things and the "need" technology to help. "

      Afraid of technology? Must be a Santorum supporter (had to say it) . Sorry to tell you but technology is the only thing that is going to save the existence of the human race on this planet especially since people like Santorum and christians think we should squander natural wonders and resources to put humans first.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
      • bendernr

        "Afraid of technology? Must be a Santorum supporter (had to say it) . Sorry to tell you but technology is the only thing that is going to save the existence of the human race on this planet especially since people like Santorum and christians think we should squander natural wonders and resources to put humans first."

        First off agreed Santorum is crazy...but what exactly do Christians have to do with squandering natural wonders and resources to put humans first? Would love to hear some rational thoughts on this.

        February 22, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • bendernr

        Would love to know how Christians are planning to squander the wonders of the world and natural resources? Don't group one single Politicans with a group of billions. Rational thoughts?

        February 22, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • Manny!

        so christinans should thank God youre and atheist then, right? or you just like to assocciate a whole religion with one politician?
        I would really really love to further discuss your rationality behind this statement of yours.
        btw, are you posting this through the internet via your latest android 4g phone and/or tablet? or did you actually practice your preaching and went straight to CNN to give your input in writting, seeing as how you do not believe in technology.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • jdub

      So you don't have a TV, a computer, a microwave, a washer and dryer? Your forefathers didn't so why do you? You probably think the "good old days" really were, but they weren't.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Drew

      Hmm, you're posting to a website on the internet from your computer, tablet, or cellphone, responding to people across the nation and the world... and you're bemoaning technology?

      February 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Christin

      Don't be afraid of new technology – embrace it. Do you really want to live in a world where we make no new advancements? Should the lightbulb have never been invented because candles worked good enough? Get out of the way, dinosaur!

      February 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • Shockwave

      Your forefathers also worked 14 hours a day dragging a plow through a field, lived in a cave, and died at 25 of an infected impacted wisdom tooth.

      The world improves and progresses. Technology has not enslaved humankind - it has freed it! You now have food every day of the year. Most formerly fatal diseases are now curable. You no longer have to eat only what you can farm yourself and starve in a bad year. You no longer need to work within walking distance of where you live. And you no longer have to have children at 14 because of the likelihood that you'll be dead at 30, either.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  96. Karaya

    Automakers will fight it tooth and nail. There is no place for driver's ego, and if BMW M5 is gonna behave in traffic just like Toyota Yaris – how do you sell BMW?

    February 22, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
    • SilentBoy741

      Put an Apple logo on it and triple the price.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
      • Jason

        SilentBoy741, brilliant!

        February 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  97. robert.

    wow . . . Technology that allows one car to tell another what it is going to do.

    Actually, that's nothing new. They are called TURN PHILA Too bad people are too stupid to use them ! called

    February 22, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply
  98. douggross

    Jehop - sorry you found it "airy." But if you take another look, saying that there's nothing in there that would reduce, or remove, the potential for human error is just wrong. That being said, you're right to say that advances in public transport are also a very important (if separate) story.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  99. jehop

    Twenty-seven paragraphs (approx) of airy discussion about the apparently urgent need and the apparently imminent availability of mechanisms which are not in any way going to offset the hazard presented by the human traits of the nut holding the steering wheel. All this additional technology pre-supposes the advancement of capabilities of drivers, which is an erroneous assumption. Nice stuff, impressive indeed. Ultimately useful? Not when compared to the urgent need for radical advances in public transportation.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
    • Dolly

      This is going to change everything. We can build a customizable public transportation system. We can build smaller, safer cars that use less material. People who want to get their kicks driving cars fast can still get involved in auto racing at race tracks. Sign me up now.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
      • anonymous

        Do you realize how expensive all of this stuff will be? Many families wont even be able to afford one of these cars. The car companies probably wont even pay to manufacture these things anyways.

        February 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  100. Rhygin

    If liability becomes an issue to slow the introduction of automated cars, it will surely come from the ignorant and perhaps the insurance companies, that will take a hit on their profits. I would not be surprised if certain police organizations might try to slow progress. I mean who are you going to give a ticket to, when there will be no driver and no mistakes? As a boomer, I cannot wait to see these cars on the road.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:17 am | Reply
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