Cars That Drive Themselves: The Next Step

It’s the logical “next step” from the smart highways, cars that drive themselves:

It may sound like science fiction, but the research arm of the Transportation Department is at work on this future right now. With many modes of transportation already using automation as standard operating procedure, cars guiding themselves and avoiding crashes might not be too far off.

The key, Dr. Robert Bertini, the acting director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems program at DOT, says is not just knowing what is possible technologically, but how the technology works together, and how to make it widespread in the market.

“We envision a world with connected vehicles, that we think we can dramatically improve safety, mobility, and sustainability,” Bertini said.

The program, called IntelliDrive, has the DOT working with states, auto manufacturers, and after-market devices manufacturers. DOT has three aims: improving safety across the transportation system, improving mobility, and also improving environmental sustainability.

For those of us who have witnessed really stupid driving–and who hasn’t–the advantages of this are obvious.

The downside: what happens when the car (or whoever is really controlling it) doesn’t want you to go where you want to?

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