Cars will drive themselves in 3 years…

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors vehicles are pushing the boundaries of automobile innovation.

How is it that we have cars that can fly, but not cars that can drive themselves? Several companies have been working on an autonomous car, but according to a report from MIT Technology, cars won’t truly drive themselves for a long while. Well, since super-inventor Elon Musk (who’s basically Iron Man) announced his company will build one in 3 years, I think self-driving automobiles are closer than we think.

Actually, they’ve always been hovering around in the horizon. Many cars today have features that let them kind of drive themselves. Some examples include auto-braking, 360 sensors that keep track of cars in the surrounding lanes, and the basic cruise control. However, the majority of control is left to driver. Well, Musk announced that 90% of his autonomous car will be taken care of by a computer system, so drivers will only have 10% to worry about. If all goes according to plan, the car should be ready in three years!

Hey, but I thought MIT reported that automated cars won’t be ready for a long while, so what gives? That report was given well before Musk made the announcement. Now, there are some MIT affiliates who believe if anyone can make a self-driving car, Musk is definitely the man to do it. Karl Iagnemma, the director of the Robotic Mobility Group at MIT, said Musk’s impressive track  record is enough to prove he will deliver. “It’s going to put increasing pressure on the field to move the technology forward,” he stated.

Even if Tesla Motors does produce such an awesome vehicle, though, some worry that the public will be afraid to use the cars. Sterling Anderson, the principal of Gimlet Systems and a colleague of Iagnemma’s, said: “Surveys show that while many people are open to the idea of an autonomous vehicle driving them to work, far fewer are willing to let one drive their child to soccer practice.” Well, Musk never promised people would love it, all he said was they they would have a self driving car ready, and Anderson knows it. “Three years is an aggressive deadline,” he said, “But it’s completely doable.”

Featured image courtesy of Naoto Sato on Flickr. Image of Tesla car courtesy of Tesla Motors Facebook.