Could driverless cars operate in the real world? For many years robotic cars have merely been a science fiction writer’s dream, but several manufacturers are now in a race to build the world’s first driverless car. Strangely enough it is Google that currently appears to have the highest chance of developing the technology and software to make this a reality.
Whilst it may seem like a very modern concept, the idea of motor vehicle capable of automated driving and navigating entirely without direct human input has been around for quite some time. In 1939 General Motors sponsored an exhibit at the World Fair which suggested electric cars could be powered by circuits embedded in roads and controlled by radio. The 1980’s saw a huge rise in European and American projects to develop autonomous vehicles and in June 2011 the state of Nevada was the first American state to pass a law concerning the operation of this type of car. In May 2012 the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for a self-driving car to a car manufacturer and by February 2013 two more U.S. states passed laws permitting driverless cars.
In August 2012, the team at Google announced that they have completed over 300,000 accident-free, autonomous-driving miles. Although they are at the forefront of driverless technology and software their chance of making this commercially viable are very low. Manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz and Toyota have all made notable advancements, with the new technology already implemented in several of their models. However it is Audi who currently appear to be in the lead. They have already proven the integration of fully driverless technology and are determined to bring it to the market, showcasing their ideas at the International CES, a major technology-related trade show held each January in the Las Vegas.