Driverless vehicles, which allow an onboard computer to accelerate, brake and steer in place of the motorist, may be closer than you think.
Continental AG has equipped a Volkswagen Passat sedan with radar sensors, video cameras and onboard computers that enable it to drive itself under a variety of road conditions.
The vehicle, which the German supplier has driven across the country, is a mobile advertisement for Continental's collision avoidance technology.
"It's not science fiction anymore," says Christian Schumacher, Continental's North American director of engineering systems. "We are getting out of the laboratory with certain features."
The next likely use: traffic jam assist. Instead of suffering through a stop-and-start commute, the driver switches on traffic jam assist. Continental's test vehicle brakes, accelerates and steers itself to remain in the proper road lane at speeds below 37 mph. Once traffic clears, the driver resumes steering and speeds to work.