Check out Popular Mechanics’s inside view of smart vehicle tech in progress at BMW’s Munich headquarters.
Cars that park themselves are already on the market, but the next gen tech goes a step further with remote control parking. Get out of the vehicle and press your key fob to have the car squeeze itself into a tight space.
Or how about an emergency autopilot that can sense a driver becoming incapacitated (say, during a heart attack), and take over to drive itself to safety on a highway shoulder?
Nervous drivers should get a some relief form self-steering cars that can keep a vehicle safely in a tight lane that has been narrowed by construction.
One of the most popular near-term technologies will probably turn out to be what BMW calls MicroPause, which will throw games, news, email, you name it, up on a head-up display for the precise amount of time required to wait at a traffic light.
The barriers to many of these technologies are more social and political than technical at this point, as proven in 2007 by DARPA’s Urban Challenge robot car race. Current laws don’t allow fully autonomous driving on public roads, for example. But with younger drivers expecting to stay immersed in their data clouds at all times and Baby Boomers needing more and more assistance driving in the coming years, resistance to robot cars is futile.