How close are we to the autonomous car?

With Google recently spotted testing a self-driving car on the Californian highway system, it's time to ask: how close are we to the age of the autonomous vehicle?

With Google recently spotted testing a self-driving car on the Californian highway system, it's time to ask: how close are we to the age of the autonomous vehicle?

It would seem that the future's nearly at hand, given that a robotic Audi TT is hoping to enter the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race and the AU$54k Prius i-Tech can park itself. Radar-guided cruise control, lane departure warning, automated pedestrian avoidance and speed sign reading systems are also becoming increasingly common place.

Do keep in mind, though, that in 1969 we all thought that we'd be living on the moon within a decade or two, and in the end we've only visited our lunar friend five more times.

Rafe Needleman, CNET US' editor at large, discusses the topic with two experts in the field: Sven Beiker and Paul Saffo. Beiker is currently the executive director of Stanford University's Center for Automotive Research, having previously worked for BMW. While Saffo is a futurist and author who has written for The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Newsweek and others; he is also a lecturer at Stanford University.


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