Posts from ‘Autonomous Cars’

Last real cars, End Of The Car

We may be sun-setting the driver-involvement era, but Tom is reasonably OK with that.

The evidence has been piling up for a while now, but the verdict is unavoidable: The traditional automobile is all but dead.

There are a couple of paths we can take to reach this conclusion, and a couple of different definitions of “dead” that we can employ, but there’s one particular path and one outcome that I am most saddened by.

Autonomous Car Fear

Why drive when you can play Scrabble? Seems we’re closing in on building viable driverless vehicles, but is the buying public ready to let computers do the driving?

The auto industry has thrust a great deal on the buying public in the last decade or so. After about a century of fairly predictable motoring progress, car builders rather suddenly began throwing once-unheard-of options at consumers.

Steve Mahan drives Google's self-driving car

Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, “drives” Google’s self-driving car.

Google’s self-driving cars have been on the road for more than a year now. This week, a DMV in Nevada issued the first driver’s license for this vehicle, with the condition that there are two people in the car at all times. Using a vast array of technology—including a laser radar on the roof to detect cars, people, and other objects—the self-driving car has been remarkably effective. And it’s not as scary as it seems. The driver can take control of the car simply by pressing the brake or touching the steering wheel.

David Hasselhoff and KITT in “Knight Rider”, Cadillac Super Cruise

David Hasselhoff and KITT in “Knight Rider”

Where have you gone, David Hasselhoff? Detroit turns its lonely (electronic) eyes to you.

Cadillac is road-testing a system designed to automatically steer, brake, and keep a car centered in a lane. In other words, drive itself. General Motors’ luxury-car division calls this system Super Cruise and says it could find its way to showrooms by the middle of this decade.

We’re not making this stuff up. But somebody did. In the Eighties. For a television show. They called it KITT.

Cadillac Super Cruise Video

Cadillac Super Cruise Video

Earlier this morning, GM released a video of its “self-driving” car. In the video, Cadillac demonstrates “semi-autonomous” technology that it calls “Super Cruise.” A car equipped with this technology is capable of fully automatic steering, braking, and lane-centering in highway driving under certain optimal conditions. GM states that the system could be ready for production vehicles by the mid-2010s.