That’s the inside of the Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving concept car. But don’t expect it anytime soon. Most estimates are that completely autonomous vehicles won’t be introduced for at least ten years.
But they’re getting there – gradually. A lot of good stuff’s happening “under the hood.” The set of technologies collectively known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is improving road safety through an evolution in vehicle sensing, intelligence and control.
Car makers are gradually introducing higher levels of driver assistance as controlled experiments. They know that full autonomy is hard, expensive and subject to legal and social ramifications.
First step is to make driver information systems widely available: simple rear-view cameras, surround-view displays, and blind spot and lane departure warnings, provide information but leave the driver in full control at all times. Higher on the complexity scale are partially autonomous systems such as lane- keep assistance and active cruise control that enable the vehicle to control itself briefly in carefully defined situations, but with the driver ready to override automatic control at all times. Highly autonomous systems, including automatic parking valet or impaired driver monitoring and override, will take full control of the vehicle at specific times.
There’s no doubt that dealing with the transition between human drivers and robot drivers will be very challenging. For a more comprehensive overview of the issues and technologies involved and an outline of the evolutionary process that is expected to span a number of automotive generations click here….