With Google already testing out self-driving cars, the world is getting a look at what the car of tomorrow will look like. Designed to eliminate auto accidents and traffic congestion, the next generation of super-safe vehicles will be able to warn drivers of potential dangers, and do everything possible to minimize an impact in the event of an unavoidable collision.
Of course, such innovative, autonomous vehicles won’t be available for decades, right?
Actually, it seems that consumers will be able to get their hands on a kind of self-driving vehicle as early as 2015. Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based startup, has made an aftermarket add-on for existing vehicles that’ll give them some self-driving features.
The advanced driver assistance system is designed specifically for highway driving. With just the push of a button, the system can keep the car in its lane, keep pace with the flow of traffic, and even brake when it’s too close to another vehicle.
Although it’s not exactly the car of tomorrow, since you can’t just press a button and get from point A to point B, it does reinvent the idea of cruise control.
As for the genuine articles, industry experts predict that they’re not that far off. Gary Silberg, of consulting firm KPMG, estimates that about half of all new vehicles being sold in 2039 will possess fully autonomous driving capabilities. According to to Navigant Research, about 94.7 million autonomous vehicles will be sold each year by 2035.
As for now, eager futurists will have to be satisfied with the advanced driver assistance system, which is pretty restricted at the moment. Its initial sales are limited to only 50 people — all of whom can only use the $10,000 system in California, the only state that the team has been able to fully map.