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Self-driving carmakers will have to pry steering wheel from some cold, dead hands

Lucas Mearian | Aug. 23, 2013
As development self-driving car technology moves ahead, a growing faction in the blogosphere say they will refuse let their driving independence be usurped by a computer.

95 million self-driving cars a year

A Navigant report released this week claimed that by 2035, more than 95 million self-driving cars will be sold worldwide every year. In 2035, sales of autonomous vehicles will represent 75% of all light-duty vehicle sold, the Navigant report states.

Alexander said he's aware of the negative online comments about autonomous cars, but compared them to people that rallied against the automatic transmission in its early days.

The public view of automated cars, Alexander said, suffers from misperceptions.

For example, if a driver wants to take the wheel, they'll likely be able to disable the automated function. Also, many technologies now in development are aimed more at offering assistance to drivers, not fully automating vehicles.

Today, there are predictive emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems that act to assist drivers for safety, but do not take away a person's ability to control the overall driver experience.

"What's important to understand is the definition of autonomous vehicle," Alexander said. "It's an autonomous functionality available in the car. It's not going to mean the cars will be completely automatic and you're not going to be able to do anything. It's a bit like having cruise control in the car, but not everybody uses them."


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