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Posts Tagged ‘driver assist technology’

California Questions Regulating Driverless Cars

Does a driver even need to be in the vehicle?

by on Mar.14, 2014

California-based Google already operates a fleet of prototype autonomous vehicles.

At this month’s Geneva Motor Show, Swiss design firm Rinspeed is showing off an autonomous concept vehicle that would allow the driver and front seat passenger to swivel their seats 180 degrees to commune with those in back, much like a living room on wheels.  Others have begun to imagine the idea of taxis and trucks that can wander the roads without a driver at all.

And that has regulators racing to catch up.  Several states have already passed preliminary rules for manufacturers testing their early prototypes.  And in Nevada and Michigan, that means there still needs to be a licensed driver sitting behind the wheel ready to take control in an instant if there’s a problem.  There’ll be no texting, reading, shaving – or drinking, for that matter.

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But California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is trying to look beyond and ask what happens when autonomous vehicles are actually on the road and in the hands of consumers, whether being operated by a commuter, a taxi driver or a truck fleet operator.  And the questions are taking on an air of increasing urgency considering that Nissan last year said it hopes to quickly take the technology out of the realm of science fiction and make it a reality by 2020.


Buyers Show Increasing Interest in Autonomous Vehicles

Many motorists say they’ll never drive again if autonomous cars become available.

by on Nov.05, 2013

The first autonomous vehicles are expected to go into production by the end of the decade.

Nissan and several other automakers have promised to put the first fully autonomous vehicles into production by the end of the decade, and industry analysts suggest the technology could become increasingly commonplace in the years to follow. That, of course, raises one basic question: will consumers buy vehicles that can drive themselves?

Despite a fair amount of skepticism, the answer appears to be yes.  Interest in autonomous driving is growing, according to a new survey by, which found the one in five drivers were interested in systems that could help pilot a vehicle, many potential buyers saying they would never again take the wheel again if a self-driving, or autonomous, car were available.

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While 20% of the 2,000 licensed drivers surveyed said they would turn over the keys, interest in autonomous vehicles increased when the prospect of reduced insurance rates was introduced into the equation.

“Our survey shows cheaper insurance will greatly influence consumer acceptance,” said managing editor Des Toups.


Era of Accident-Free Driving May be Within Reach

Driver assistance systems a stepping stone to full autonomous vehicles.

by on Oct.10, 2013

Hands off! A Continental autonomous vehicle prototype handles the driving on Detroit's I-75.

Is the auto industry approaching a high-tech era of accident-free driving?

New rules in Europe going into effect in 2014 will require vehicles to have advanced driver assistance features such as lane departure and forward collision warning systems to get a top safety rating – and that’s accelerating the development of new driver-assist technologies that could sharply reduce the number of common accidents due to driver error, industry leaders predict.

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The new rules, in turn, are bringing the age of fully automated driving ever closer, said Steffen Linkenbach, Continental AG director of engineering systems and technology, the German supplier pushing to become a leader in the fast-emerging field.