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Self driving cars are coming, just not all that fast

Someday we will be riding in self-driving cars if we are to believe what some carmakers say. There may be some hype involved, but some of the technology that will get us there is already on the road.  You can experience some of that in a new car from Jerry’s Mitsubishi. 

Level one, according to MIT reckoning, involves things like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking or parking, blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance. These are rather commonplace in late model cars. Some used cars at Jerry’s Mitsubishi would have this technology.

Things get complicated after that. The next level would be automatic steering and some speed control. This level exists to a limited degree. Currently on the testing floor is level three, that will have cars pretty much on autopilot with limited human intervention.  Level four would be fully automated but could be driven by a human. The top level, level five, would take people totally out of the picture.

Some carmakers are hoping to introduce level three and four cars within the next five years, and even some level five experiments could happen in that time frame as well.

The technology exists, but the hard part is making it work in the real world. Things like sensors, cameras, radar, GPS, light detection and artificial intelligence will be the things that make self-driving cars happen.

The reality may not come as quickly as some might hope, MIT articles say, but the reality will eventually get here. The study by MIT says there may be 250 million cars that can, for the most part, drive themselves by the end of the year 2020. The article suggests fully automated cars will be about 25 percent of the market by 2040.

Another MIT study says that while autonomous cars may be on some roads by 2020, to meet carmakers self-imposed deadline, there won’t be that many that soon. They will be used only in limited areas, like short distance taxi service, and at low speeds.

Technology can react much faster than a human can, and that should make roads safer and prevent a lot of accidents. The problem comes when the computer has to interpret information – which is artificial intelligence. When there is something unusual, it may cause a problem.

Even so, the self-driving car is on its way, even if it takes longer than we might hope. But much of the technology is already available in new cars, like the ones being sold at Jerry’s Mitsubishi.