A recent article and infographic from Mashable predicts self-driving cars in showrooms by 2017. Some vehicles can already park themselves, or stop themselves in the event of an emergency, so the rest can’t be that far off, right? Mashable does ask, however, “will drivers be willing to trust it enough to sit and read their iPads or put on makeup on their way to work instead of driving? (Wait, aren't they doing that now?).”
Widespread acceptance is going to depend on how good and accessible the technology is. Once we see more and more self-driving cars on the road, the acceptance will increase, but it’s going to be an uphill battle. What’s it going to take to get drivers to get their hands of the wheel?
Eventually these cars will interact with the roads and highways, and even police and emergency vehicles, but most importantly with each other. For instance, some higher end brands like Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes Benz already have cars with an adaptive cruise control feature. Lasers or radar are used to maintain safe distances from other vehicles.
By 2014 some of the bigger automakers will be offering embedded 4G internet access in-vehicle. General Motors has already partnered with AT&T, and Apple is working on an OS for cars that will integrate with iOS7 in-dash.
Japanese automakers are banking on hydrogen power to run our cars of the future. Hydrogen powered cars built by the biggest Japanese automakers are expected to be on Japanese roads by 2015, backed up with the insurance that there will be plenty of hydrogen filling stations near all of Japan’s largest cities and surrounding areas. By 2016, the U.S. is expected to comprise 90% of the hybrid vehicle market, with a sharp rise in smart car batteries that run electric vehicles and other hybrids.
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