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Driverless Cars May Be Soon Hitting the Market

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By Barry Burch Jr.

Ever dream of grabbing some shut-eye on your way home, or perhaps on your way to work?  That may be possible sooner than you think.

In 2004, Will Smith appeared in the movie “I-Robot” in a self-driving car.  Now, just ten years later, the idea seems to have become a reality.  According to Bjorn Giesler of Audi, “You can just say, ‘hey, I do not want to drive right now just take over,’ and if I want to be back in the driver’s seat I just grab the wheel and go.”

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, a driver demonstrated that it was possible to actually go to sleep at the wheel by using a feature called “pilot driving.”  Bjorn explained, “They call it pilot driving, which means there is a driver, but he can concentrate on something else if he does not want to actively drive.”

The state of California wants driverless cars on its roads and is taking aggressive steps towards doing so.  Testing may take place on roads as early as this spring.   “We’re developing the regulations to allow for these autonomous vehicles to be tested on our roadways as well as operated on our roadways,” said California DMV Deputy Director Bernard Soriano.

On Tuesday, the California DMV held a public hearing to go over the rules for operating an autonomous vehicle.  Those rules include someone being in the driver’s seat; however a representative of Volkswagen Group of America, Nicole Barranco, says even that may be too strict. She chuckled, “And we contemplate an occasion with redundant controls in what is referred to or known as the passenger seat.  We like to call it the co-driver seat.”

The most well-known autonomous car comes from Google, which has demonstrated how one day the car might be able to help the blind.

Barry is a student for the people.  Other than writing, he enjoys arithmetic and politics.  Reach him @ Barryburchjr@gmail.com 

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