Future of Cars

July 25, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 27
Are Americans ready for self-driving vehicles?
By David Hosansky


Google's driverless electric car (Google)
Google's driverless electric car has no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal and reaches a top speed of 25 mph. Although the prototype, unveiled on May 27, is far from ready for consumers, self-driving cars could begin appearing in auto showrooms within a few years. (Google)

Cars that drive themselves, long a staple of science fiction, could be in auto showrooms in the next few years. Automakers and researchers around the world are testing and refining technologies that allow a car to know where it is going and to communicate with other vehicles. Special sensors and software make the breakthroughs possible. Already, cars are selling with automated features designed to keep them in the correct lane, brake to avoid collisions and park themselves. Technology giant Google, which has tested vehicles with self-driving features on a half-million miles of roads, recently demonstrated a car with no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal. It remains unclear, however, how safe super-smart cars would be, how they would affect traffic congestion, how consumers and the nation would pay for the cars and the supporting infrastructure they would need and whether Americans will accept such a radical change in their relationship with automobiles.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jun. 19, 2020  Fuel Efficiency Standards
Feb. 01, 2019  Self-Driving Cars
Feb. 17, 2017  Reducing Traffic Deaths
Jul. 25, 2014  Future of Cars
Feb. 06, 2009  Auto Industry's Future Updated
May 16, 2003  SUV Debate
Oct. 26, 2001  Auto Safety
Jan. 21, 2000  Auto Industry's Future
Jul. 25, 1997  Aggressive Driving
Oct. 16, 1992  U.S. Auto Industry
Apr. 27, 1990  Curbing Auto-Insurance Premiums
Jul. 14, 1989  Automakers Face Trouble Down the Road
Aug. 31, 1984  U.S. Auto Industry: Strategies for Survival
Feb. 23, 1979  Auto Research and Regulation
Apr. 28, 1978  Automotive Safety
May 10, 1974  Auto Industry in Flux
Apr. 18, 1973  Auto Emission Controls
Jan. 13, 1971  Auto Insurance Reform
Jul. 27, 1966  Fortunes of Auto Industry
Jun. 04, 1965  Automobile Safety
Jul. 10, 1964  Automobile Insurance and Traffic Safety
Nov. 19, 1958  Small Cars
Apr. 17, 1957  Better Driving
Jul. 01, 1954  Competition in Automobiles
Mar. 23, 1954  Automobile Liability Insurance
Dec. 24, 1952  Highway Accidents: Causes and Remedies
Aug. 21, 1945  Automobiles in the Postwar Economy
Sep. 02, 1938  The Market for Automobiles
Oct. 26, 1932  Outlook for the Automobile Industry
Dec. 10, 1929  Condition of the Automobile Industry
Jan. 30, 1928  Automobile Fatalities and Compulsory Insurance
Dec. 10, 1927  The Status of the Automobile Trade
Motor Traffic and Roads
Motor Traffic Safety
Motor Vehicle Industry