Are cars that drive themselves the way of the future?
Vince Vitrano, Stephanie Graham
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - More and more features are popping up in today's vehicles that are steering us in the direction of cars that drive themselves! It sounds like something out of sci-fi, and resembles it a bit, too, but self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles, are already on the road. Google has about a dozen. How do they work?
Ed Hellwig of edmunds.com explains, "A Google car can literally sense what's around the car and what kind of obstacles are coming up."
The average person won't be able to buy a self-driving model any time soon--it'd be too expensive at this point. But that doesn't mean you can't try out some of the technology today. Take the updated adaptive cruise control, for example.
"Adaptive cruise control can bring the car to a complete stop as well as start the car when traffic gets moving again, so you can literally be in stop and go traffic and not put your feet on the pedals at all," Hellwig says.
There are also lane departure warnings that auto correct when you veer outside the lines, headlights that adapt to changing weather conditions, and new blind spot technology that will give you an audible or visual warning in your mirrors letting you know that a car is there.
These options aren't just popping up in the luxury market anymore. When Aimee Goodman went new car shopping recently, she was sold when she realized she could get high tech for low price. She says, "It became a significant factor in choosing a car."
The car she picked is priced in the mid 20's, but offers blind spot assistance and the windshield wipers will turn on as soon as they sense moisture on the windshield.
What could be wrong with all that? Some complain that all this high tech help will put drivers at a disadvantage.
Hellwig explains on of the concerns, "It might make drivers a little too relaxed in terms of being vigilant about what's around them."
Aimee disagrees, saying she feels more confident. "It doesn't replace a drivers attention to detail but it gives you an added level of security."
Some automakers are also working on creating cars that will take over the wheel in an emergency.