Don’t plan on trading in your existing car for one that can drive itself anytime soon. While we’ve seen significant advances in autonomous driving technology from companies like Audi, BMW, Nissan and even Google, experts tell us that we shouldn’t expect to forfeit our seat behind the wheel until at least 2025.
Speaking at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2013 World Congress, Christian Schumacher of Continental Automotives Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for the NAFTA region said 2025 is around the time frame that they expect to see cars drive themselves.
The key concern it seems is the safety of self-driving vehicles which is a bit ironic as human error is one of the leading causes for automobile accidents today. Peter Sweatman, director of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute said driver distraction and safety technology are really separate ships passing in the night.
Even still, California and Nevada law allows self-driving cars on public roadways so long as a licensed driver is behind the wheel. That in itself could present an issue as the person behind the wheel could become even more distracted with things like text messaging, reading or even sleeping if they don’t have to physically drive the car. The minute something malfunctions and an accident occurs, the discussion would turn on its head, said one expert.
Of course, that’s not to say that we can't enjoy some elements of autonomous driving today. Manufacturers are already shipping models with features like parallel park assistance, lane detection and pedestrian recognition.