Were science fiction movies, simply predictions of what is to come in the near future? We believe so, as everything seems to indicate that we could have driverless cars on the market very soon.
This important technological advance could be possible thanks to the combination of 3 industry giants: Google, Toyota and Texas Instrument. According to Google we should see cars without drivers within 3 to 5 years. Since 2010, the Toyota Prius, Lexus RX450h and Audi TT have already covered more than 500,000 kilometres across California and Nevada. For the moment no accidents have occurred, thanks to the use of this innovative steering system.
However the launch of this ground-breaking system will not be easy. As of May 2012, its estimated cost was $150,000, making it more expensive than the car’s retail price.
The steering system also faces authorisation issues. At the moment it is only legal in California and Nevada, USA. This is based on the fact that, the unique nature of this type of vehicle, may force some of the points in the Highway Code to be altered.
For example, even if these vehicles were capable of limiting traffic jams and accidents thanks to their sensors, there are still questions about who’s responsible in the case of an accident. Another important point to consider is the requirement of a driver’s licence to operate this type of car. This will help determine directly if the handicapped will be able to use this innovation. Currently we are unaware if the company will propose its technology to the car manufacturers or if Google will be a new automotive actor and create its own vehicle.
Check out Google’s latest proposition for the automotive industry: Video demonstration of the driverless car from Google