Semi-Driverless Cars Available Soon

Continental Automotive, a company that makes tires and other parts, has put together a semi-driverless car for Nevada. Under the rules in that state, which legalized driverless cars last year, a car must successfully go 10,000 miles without an accident before being marketed in the state. Continental’s car, which is based on a Volkswagen Passat, should pass that mark this week.

Continental’s car is not completely driverless. Instead, it takes over the driving on an urban or rural highway, steering within the lanes, keeping pace with traffic, and avoiding collisions with other vehicles. A human driver has to take over to change lanes or exit the highway.

Still, this is a good first step. While the Google driverless car is equipped with an expensive, spinning laser beam that detects all other objects in a 360-degree circle around the car, the Continental car uses lower-cost sensors that are already standard on many high-end cars. Once certified in Nevada, it is likely that a car like this will be on the market in a couple of years.

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5 thoughts on “Semi-Driverless Cars Available Soon

  1. Sandy Teal

    I don’t see a future for driverless cars because I don’t think society will accept it. But kudos to the Antiplanner for publicizing and making the most of the technology. If I am wrong, I will not be sorry.

    P.S. I think the cell phone or texting driver is close to a driverless car, so computer driverless cars are probably an improvement over those drivers.

    FrancisKing Reply:

    I can see a future for driverless cars, but only on roads which are tightly controlled. Unless the accuracy is high, unexpected events (kids chasing balls into the road, wobbly cyclists, horses) will always be a problem.

    It is probably better that in this case the driver is expected to retain control of the car, and have to supervise what the car is doing, he can’t take off his shoes, put on his slippers, and take 40 winks.

    PlanesnotTrains Reply:

    They said the same thing about removing the flight engineer position from airliners 20 years ago. Some say the same thing about single pilot airline operations 20 years from now which will also become a reality.

    The biggest hurdle I see is the desires of the driver to want to react to something the vehicle does. We like to control where we go. That said, the flow of traffic that can be achieved will be incredible, but it will take a great deal of time for it to be fully implemented. Imagine, no more drivers doign 45 in the fast lane. :-)

  2. JimKarlock

    This is the beginning of the end of any justification for mass transit.

    We already know that
    Mass transit is MORE expensive than driving.
    Mass transit does not save energy compared to driving.
    Mass transit is slower than driving.

    This shows that soon mass transit will loose the excuse that handicapped and young people need transit. Of course the transit industry will try a full court press to stop this and lose badly.

    The only remaining justification for mass transit will be to serve low income people. Yeah, right, set up a slow, money wasting, energy neutral, multi million dollar system to serve a few low income people instead of getting them a car!

    Thanks
    JK

    the highwayman Reply:

    You loaded the deck, if robo-cars work, then truckers will be out of work too.

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