CARS.COM — It’s been the dream of science fiction fans for more than half a century: You get in your car in the morning and say, “Take me to work,” and it automatically backs you out of the driveway and does exactly that — all on its own. When it gets to your office, it drops you off at the front door and then continues on its own into the parking garage.
Related: What Makes an Autonomous Car?
More than just gee-whiz technology or a mere convenience, autonomy is seen as a means to minimize motor vehicle accidents, decrease traffic congestion and improve efficiency, which is why governments the world over are encouraging and enabling its development.
Right now, automakers truly are on the cusp of the kind of automation that signals that the future has arrived, one in which a car actually makes all of the decisions about travel, and it all works flawlessly. As we’ve explored in other articles, autonomous car hardware is here. It’s in vehicles you can buy and it’s just a of couple software patches away from being able to do much of what was just described.
But the question remains: When can I buy a truly autonomous car, one that only needs me to tell it where to go?
The Semi-Autonomous Near-Future (2016-2020)