No Driverless Cars Anytime Soon

google driverless carLooking forward to hopping in your self-driving car, pulling out your iPad and watching the scenery go by? You may be in for a longer wait than you expected.

Despite Google’s fleet of them and interest from Audi, GM, Toyota and others, self-driving cars won’t come anytime soon. Experts at the 2013 Society of Automotive Engineers 2013 World Congress said this week that the mass market won’t get them until 2025, the Detroit News reports. .

SAE, whose standards influence everything from cargo specs to horsepower, invited panelists from automakers, suppliers, universities and more to its annual conference in Detroit. So-called “semiautonomous” technology, which fuses collision-detection and steering technologies to keep you in your lane and far enough from the car ahead, will hit the market much sooner, experts said.

The potential for driver distraction spawned debate, says the News. After all, a self-driving car would seem to only encourage more texting — or sleeping or reading. If you had to remain as alert behind the wheel as if you were driving, the benefits would diminish. Such systems offer high safety potential, given most accidents result from human error, but should any malfunction cause an accident, one expert said it would turn the discussion on its head.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in October it would launch a $1.75 million multiyear research project to determine the human controls necessary in driverless cars.

That study alone should take a while.


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