Car manufacturers are gradually working toward bringing self-driving car technology to the roads near you. Audi is currently testing a prototype autonomous driving system specifically to be turned on for handling highway driving. It is more of an incremental approach as opposed to Google’s “moonshot” of having the car handle all aspects of the driving under every circumstance. By turning the system on only the highway, this allows the computers in the Audi prototype to handle the boring highway miles of a road trip.
Whether it is automakers more incremental autonomous driving prototypes or Google’s more comprehensive approach, it is clear self-driving cars are on their way, which excites Bernardo Chua. Their arrival will be welcome news for people with disabilities and others who may have trouble getting around today. Automakers seem to be developing it as a natural extension of increasingly advanced cruise control systems mainly for highway driving, but eventually even they will be expanding it to encompass more situations. This technology will be invaluable for segments of our society who currently do not benefit from our increasingly mobile lives and should eventually make getting around in a car as easy as taking a cab or bus but far more convenient than a bus and hopefully way cheaper than having to take a cab everywhere. As with all new technology, it will no doubt be expensive at first, then the benefits of it should start to seep down to the rest of us.