Self-driving cars have long captured the imagination of people across the world. Up until recently, the driver-less car has merely been a dream to the creative minds in the automotive industry. Thanks to an influx of new technology, all of the dreams are finally becoming reality.
In 2009, Google started testing their driver free technology on the Toyota Prius. They used freeways in California for the initial test phase of what is to become the Google Self Driving Car. Since that time, Google has begun testing on a multitude of different automotive models.
In 2012, they began testing driver free technology on the Lexus RX 450h. This opened the door for Google to begin implementing even more Lexus RX models into their plans. This testing has led Lexus to introduce plans for their own self driving car, which they say should be on the market by the year 2020. While the car is set to debut in 2020, features requiring absolutely zero driver interaction won’t be available until at least 2025.
This is great news for luxury car lovers. In just a few short years, luxury and autonomy will become one and the same. Wouldn’t it be great to take a nap on your drive home from that lengthy business meeting? This incredible technology is still far from being available to the masses, so hold off on that auto insurance quote comparison for now.
Lexus isn’t the only luxury car maker looking to make a splash on the brave new frontier of autonomous vehicles. Automotive giants such as Mercedes Benz, Audi, and BMW have all announced plans aimed at creating the luxury vehicles of the future.
Audi recently released a prototype A7 that takes control of itself on the highway. The prototype can operate by itself at speeds under 70 miles per hour. It also has the ability to change lanes on its own, passing slower cars in front of it.
While the Audi A7 prototype requires no human interaction on the highway, it will alert the occupant of the vehicle when entering more highly congested city areas. This means that while the A7 is on the right track, there is still a long way to go before it can safely be allowed to drive itself regardless of road conditions or the area the car is in.
BMW has recently begun testing its own driver free technology on BMW 3 Series cars in China. The cars use AutoBrain software developed by Chinese search engine provider Baidu. The software includes maps that link up with GPS satellite internet, allowing the car to automatically detect where it is. This allows the car to merge itself onto the highway or navigate side streets, even making left and right turns on its own. BMW currently has not set a timetable for retail availability for the self driving 3 Series.
Mercedez Benz has recently raised the bar on driver free technology by recently unveiling their F 015 Luxury in Motion research car. This vehicle can be considered cutting edge in every aspect, from its sleek futuristic design to its multitude of futuristic technology.
The F 015 interior features a lounge-like setting with two forward facing and two backward facing seats. Since the car can effectively drive on its own without any human input, the lounge allows passengers to more effectively make use of their time on the road. This innovative new concept could change the way we view the road, changing it from a monotonous place filled with traffic to a new place to conduct business. The F 015 is unfortunately merely a concept model and is not available to the general public.
The automotive industry has advanced by leaps and bounds since Henry Ford first introduced his Model T to the masses, forever changing how we as humans get from point A to point B. With over ten million self-driving cars projected to be on our roadways by the year 2020, it is undeniable that the future has arrived.
Luxury and autonomy are set to spearhead the automotive industry into the future. With a combination of innovation, practicality, and style, luxury car makers have begun realizing their visions of a better future. Self-driving cars are just over the horizon, and it will be quite exciting to see how this exciting new technology will influence and shape the world in the years to come.