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Driverless Cars: Science Fiction or.. Science Reality?

Picture yourself in Downtown San Francisco in the year 2035.

Autonomous Driving

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Cars motor down our roads, just like they do now. Nothing looks out of the ordinary. But look closely. The cars have no drivers! And man, oh man, can those driverless cars drive.

Traffic flows easy and seamlessly, sans any human guidance. Every human is a passenger. Motorists who once wasted hours of every day watching for pedestrians, trees, and red lights, chill out in the back and zone out on whatever the 2035 version of the iPad is. The cars zip around, avoiding obstacles like pedestrians and debris, as if like magic. Since red lights no longer exist — and since automated cars can pack closer together than our current cars can — commuting time is reduced. Fuel economy is better, too, since all automated cars can communicate with one another. There is no excess waste or drag on the traffic system.

June 2011, Nevada first state to legalize self-driving cars

March 2012, California state Sen. Alex Padilla introduces SB1298, a bill establishing guidelines for autonomous vehicle testing and operations in California.

Pipe Dream Or Not?

Driverless cars may sound like a wonderful, if “out there” idea. But groups like the Institute Without Boundaries are working to turn this fantasy into reality. The Institute’s Beyond The Car project could one day eliminate our need for traffic lights and herald a golden age in transportation.