If you don’t listen to Google’s robot car, it will yell at you. I’m not kidding: I learned that on my test-drive at a Stanford conference on vehicle automation a couple weeks ago. The car wanted its human driver to retake the wheel, since this particular model wasn’t designed to merge lanes. If we ignored its command a third time, I wondered, would it pull over and start beating us like an angry dad from the front seat? Better to not find out.
No car is truly autonomous yet, so I didn’t expect Google’s car to drive entirely by itself. But several car companies — such as Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen, and others — already have models and prototypes today with a surprising degree of driver-assistance automation. We can see “robot” or automated cars (what others have called “autonomous cars”, “driverless cars”, etc.), coming in our rear-view mirror, and they are closer than they appear.
Read n=more: Patrick Lin on Wired.