The race to autonomous driving


Science-fiction visionaries have long promised us all kinds of futuristic transportation options, and while jetpacks and teleportation are still some ways off, the technologies are finally in place to make self-driving cars a reality. It's time for automakers to put the pedal to the metal as they compete with technology companies and other industry disruptors to put partially or fully autonomous vehicles on American roads. The auto industry has a head start: After decades of investments, today's vehicles offer many partially autonomous features like lane departure systems, adaptive cruise control, and emergency braking. Emerging technologies could enable even more vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity, making the leap to fully driverless cars even smaller. In fact, executives from several leading automakers foresee advanced self-driving technology being available by 2021 or even sooner;1 some envision vehicles without steering wheels or pedals to be driven by advanced technology and sensors and not people.